'It just whets the appetite even more for Blackburn' - Hurst pleased with West Ham display
PUBLISHED: 19:12 28 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:12 28 July 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst declared himself pleased with his side's performance in this afternoon's 2-1 home friendly defeat to Premier League visitors West Ham United.
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst declared himself pleased with his side’s performance in this afternoon’s 2-1 home friendly defeat to Premier League visitors West Ham United.
After a sluggish start, in which Felipe Anderson scored an early header (3), the Blues played with intensity and confidence.
Summer signing Ellis Harrison scored a deserved 15th minute equaliser and the hosts continued to play with vim and vigour before Marko Arnautovic’s winner against the run of play (70).
“It was a tough test, a different kind of test and one I felt we needed,” said Hurst, whose side kick-start their Championship campaign with the visit of Blackburn Rovers next Saturday.
“I didn’t think we were dominated. We certainly saw enough of the ball, I felt, for large parts of the game.
“They probably saw it out a little bit easy, partly because of the changes we made and the little tweak to the shape which didn’t allow us to get as much pressure on the ball.
“But overall I am very pleased. It was nice to walk out and see what a game is like here with a crowd and a good crowd at that (15,246) for a pre-season game.
“It just whets the appetite even more for that opener against Blackburn.”
He continued: “I said after MK Dons that I’d seen glimpses of what we wanted and there was more again today.
“We were against better quality players and a better team. Were they (West Ham) absolutely flat out? I’m not going to say that was the case, but there were moments where their quality shone through and we had to be organised and on our mettle to read situations.
“Most of the time I felt we were, although there were a few situations, which I’ve already highlighted to the players, were we needed to sense danger a little bit quicker.
“Overall I thought we tried to press - although that’s difficult against players who are comfortable on the ball.
“We actually carried a threat today as well. That was probably the most threatening we’ve looked in pre-season actually, which is pleasing when you go up against a better team.”
New boy Harrison, a recent £750k addition from League One club Bristol Rovers, again looked good.
“He did,” agreed Hurst. “But we still want him to improve. We don’t want that to be his best performance in an Ipswich Town shirt, but it’s great for any striker to get off the mark. He did that. You have to ask him if he’s disappointed not to have scored the header that hit the post or whether he felt unlucky.
“I think he’s got a little bit of everything in his game that you’d want from a centre forward. He’s not electric, but he’s quick enough. He’s strong, he can win his headers, he’s quite clever on the ball at times. That’s a big part of the reason we brought him to the football club.
“He can be pleased with the start he’s made, but we won’t be letting him rest on that goal. But he was a focal point for the team and that’s what we need with that sole striker. It’s a tough role, but today he certainly played it well.”