‘I’m sure everyone is concerned with the situation’ – Hurst on defeat at Hull and Town being bottom
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst knows supporters will be concerned by the situation his side finds themselves in following this afternoon’s 2-0 defeat at Hull City.
The Blues are rooted to foot of the Championship table and out of the Carabao Cup following an eight-game winless start in all competitions, with very few positives to take from this latest set-back.
“We didn’t start the game well enough – not just the goal, but overall,” rued Hurst, reflecting on the fact that it took just four minutes for Jarrod Bowen to break the deadlock for a Tigers side who had lost their previous six matches in succession at the KC Stadium.
“We gave Hull a shot of confidence, which we spoke about not doing, instead of building pressure on them. There was a big contribution from ourselves in terms of the goal.
“We didn’t win enough headers, we didn’t win enough second balls probably until the last 10 minutes of the first half. We had a good spell then and I thought we started the second half bright, but ultimately we don’t get a goal when we’re on top again, which we spoke about.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the Hull lads, don’t get me wrong, but both goals are avoidable. And while I’m not saying we would have got an equaliser, that second goal kills it altogether. It was a terrible decision on our part (Jordan Spence at fault for the 90th minute second goal).
“We’ve been punished again for mistakes. We’ve relied on Dean (Gerken) to make a couple of good saves. I think we’ve had situations... People will talk about how many saves did their keeper have to make? I accept that. But there were situations where he should be making saves and we haven’t shown enough quality to force him into action.”
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He continued: “We changed formation in an attempt to get that equaliser and it got a little bit more stretched and left us a little bit more vulnerable. But I didn’t think there was much in the game. The goal and their next opportunity came from our mistakes. If you keep making mistakes the further up you go they are going to take them more often than not.
“That made it more difficult than it needed to be and then we didn’t get on the end of things. Balls in the box, we’re not quite there. We have a great ball in and should have an attempt at goal but it ends up that we don’t even get a shot at goal. That’s making life extremely difficult for ourselves.”
On his decision to revert to a one up front formation following the 1-1 home draw against Norwich, replacing striker Kayden Jackson with midfielder Flynn Downes, the Blues boss explained: “I just felt that looking at how they played that would suit us best today. And it gave Jon (Walters) that opportunity to play as the out-and-out striker, who I think did that pretty well at times.
“When we do go two up front, that’s when probably more of the issues occurred in terms of us getting caught. The second goal, it’s a terrible mistake, but where the lad picks the ball up initially from the first header that we lose, if you have three in there he is probably not going to get the time that he did.
“You can debate that all day long. Ultimately, if you play well enough, you could play whatever system you want. I genuinely don’t believe that the system is the problem. Keeping the ball out of our net is certainly one of them and not being ruthless enough or having maybe enough desire to get on the end of something, they are bigger problems to me rather than actually how we set up.”
Asked if the search for a win is in danger of becoming a mental block, Hurst replied: “I would say so. I’m sure everyone is concerned with the situation that we’re in and the run of form that we’re on, or run of results certainly. I think that was probably, certainly the first half an hour, the poorest we’ve been. But I think we’ve been in every game.
“The goal did look like it knocked any confidence we had and it took us time to recover from that. It’s going to be a weight on our shoulders – there’s no getting away from that. I’ve said from the start I’m not going to pretend. Of course it is. Until that result does come that’s always going to be there.”
Town now face Brentford (Tuesday) and Bolton (Saturday) in back-to-back games at Portman Road.
“A nice easy one against Brenftord to start!” joked Hurst. “Second in the table and arguably one of the best footballing teams, if not the best, in the league. They are playing a system with one up front which is very fluid. They score goals and keep clean sheets, so it couldn’t be a much bigger test for us, but one that we’ve got to try and rise to.”