'You can only put it down to confidence' – Hurst reflects on goalless home draw with Bolton
PUBLISHED: 19:02 22 September 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst admits confidence is an issue for his players after today’s goalless home draw with Bolton Wanderers.
The Blues’ wait for their first win of the season under new boss Paul Hurst goes on, despite having played for 44 minutes against 10 men this afternoon.
Trotters defender Marc Wilson was dismissed not long before half-time, but Town failed to test the goalkeeper from open play as the visitors shut up shop.
To rub salt in the wounds, striker Jon Walters limped off with a calf injury just seven minutes after coming on and, with Town having used all three subs, the game ended 10 v 10.
“We didn’t work their goalkeeper enough and I spoke to Dean Gerken just there and he said he didn’t make a save, so from that point of view there was very little goalmouth action,” said Hurst. “There was lots of probing and pressing but a lack of quality, whether it’s that final ball, an attempt at goal or a cross.
“I think we’ve got in some good crossing areas, although I’m not sure how many good balls we put in the box. Some of the passing at times was ok, to a point, but then other things are occurring that you can only put down to confidence.
“I spoke to the players and said if I, in any way shape or form, am making it more difficult for you to play then please come and see me and I’ll try and take that away.
“Because it’s not a difficult place to play of in terms of fans getting on at the players. There are a helluva lot worse places.
“That’s the most obvious thing I can point to – confidence. That’s the magic formula for everyone and unfortunately there is not a definite way to go about restoring that.
“The easiest thing is to win a game of football but then that does turn into the chicken and the egg scenario. We need that victory to at least take that away from the players and hopefully that will instil some confidence in the players.
“A win would stop the questions, get the monkey off the back and it does feel that I would wish we would get battered for 90 minutes and then get an own goal. That’s how it feels.”
He continued: “Today we felt we had a good opportunity going into the game and then with the sending off you think your chances would increase, but, I’ll be honest, that wasn’t a scenario that would suit us best and it turned out to be the case.
“It turned out being 10 v 10 for the last 15 minutes after Jon Walters went off and he wasn’t on the pitch long enough to see whether that (would work).”
Asked if he felt the pressure on him was growing, Hurst said: “Apart from the obvious pressure you put on yourself and being without a victory, I don’t feel conscious of how I conduct myself and how that reflects and comes across to the players.
“As much as I talk about being honest and genuine, I have been in this long enough to know there are times when you need to become an actor and I’m not a very good one. At the same time you have to keep your emotions in check because I want what’s best for the players.
“I want them to be able to produce. In the dressing room afterwards it’s strange because we’ve had some games here where a draw has felt like a win and then today it feels more like a defeat because of how the game played out.”
On the difficulty of playing against a 10-man side who showed little attacking ambition, Hurst said: “We did it a different way when we got the point here against Aston Villa (with 10 men) and carried more threat.
“I’m sure Phil (Parkinson) will be delighted with a point.
“The sending off wasn’t the scenario that suited us best today and I’m sure some people won’t want to contemplate understanding that, but I’ve been on both sides of it.
“We did it differently against Aston Villa and I wanted us to still carry some threat and not just be defensive and invite play on. There are different ways to do it but I guess we both got the same result.
“It was a frustrating afternoon and that’s the overriding emotion.
“A clean sheet, the first one, which we are very grateful for, and we have to try and build on that. But the opportunity was there to work the keeper more than we did.”
When asked if the players were doing the things he asked of them today, Hurst said: “Yeah, in large parts. I think the wingers were maybe a little bit impatient in terms of coming inside too quick rather than holding their width. And the midfield players were doing what we wanted them to do in picking up some nice areas.
“Jon Nolan hasn’t had his best game in terms of his quality on the ball, but in terms of getting in some good areas he was where we wanted him.
“On the day his touch, his pass, has not been there and that epitomised us overall.”
Having replaced midfielder Trevoh Chalobah with midfielder Tayo Edun at the break, leaving Kayden Jackson up top on his won, Hurst explained: “The temptation is to chuck two players up front but even in the short time Jon (Walters) was on we lost our way slightly and were not picking the ball and getting into nice areas.
“There are different ways to win a game. That was the reason for taking off a defensive midfield player to try and force theirs back, getting in between their midfield.”