'We have the quality to go on and win this league' - Burns calls upon fans to keep the faith
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town winger Wes Burns believes Paul Cook has assembled 'one of the best squads League One has ever seen'.
Burns is one of 19 summer signings settling in at the Blues, with many of them having been persuading to drop down a level to join an ambitious project being backed by new US-based owners.
All the off-field excitement has been dampened by an eight-game winless start to the campaign across all competitions (D3 L5) though, 18 goals having been conceded against Morecambe, Newport, Burton, Cheltenham, MK Dons, AFC Wimbledon, Bolton and West Ham U21s.
With Saturday's 5-2 home humbling at the hands of Bolton having been followed up by a 2-1 loss to West Ham Under-21s in the Papa John's Trophy last night, the pressure is rising ahead of Saturday's trip to Lincoln City.
"It was gut-wrenching to be turned over the way we were last weekend," said Burns, speaking to BBC Radio Suffolk.
"As a team we never expected the result to go that way. It's been a real tough start for us.
"We looked at the first five or six fixtures and thought that would be a pretty good opportunity for us to get things up and running. And we have been in winning positions in 80-90% of the games. It's just something that we're going through at the moment.
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"When we do go ahead it's game management. We need to be a lot smarter than what we are being at the moment in terms of when to play out from the back and when to go long and try and pin them in their half. It's sometimes about stopping them getting any momentum.
"We are a new squad. I know the manager has said in press conferences that we're a new team and we do need time to gel. I agree. I do think it really is a case of that.
"People were coming into the squad at various times throughout pre-season. It does take time for players to settle down and build those relationships.
"I think we've had three or four different centre-back pairings already this season. Right-backs have changed, left-backs have changed, the front of the team has changed. That's been down, in part, to some injuries we've picked up along the way, which hasn't helped us.
"All in all it's just a case of us getting back to the training ground and working a lot harder on basically being more resilient and head strong in games.
"I've said this in the dressing room and to the coaches, we kind of just need one of those games where we don't play very well, the game isn't a great game, but we score a scruffy 90th minute winner for a 1-0. That's the type of result we need at the minute to kickstart our season.
"Obviously we haven't won in eight now. Last night was a very disappointing result.
"But we all know we have got the quality of player to go on and win this league if we do sort the problems that we have out."
Former Fleetwood and Bristol City man Burns continued: "I know some supporters are saying 'how long does it take for a team to gel?' , but then how long is a piece of string? Do you know what I mean?
"The manager has got a lot of ideas about how he wants us to play. There's only so much you can teach during a week. There's only so much you can do each day in training without burning the players out and frazzling minds with too much information.
"I'll say this myself now, the supporters do need to stick with us. Times will change. That gelling process is still happening. The calibre of player we've got here... it's probably one of the best squads that I've ever been part of. I think it's probably one of the best squads that League One has ever seen. So it is just a case of sticking with us. Hopefully the supporters don't turn on us too quickly."
Sam Morsy, a deadline day signing from Middlesbrough, made his debut last night but still has two games of a league suspension to serve. It's likely the experienced midfielder will take the captain's armband when available.
Bersant Celina, who also arrived late in the transfer window, could make his debut at Lincoln on Saturday.
"Straight away you can tell with Sam Morsy that he's got that leadership vibe about him," said Burns. "He literally trains exactly the way he plays! I know it rubs some people up the wrong way when he flies into challenges and kicks people, but I don't care if he kicks me because I know he'll do exactly the same to the opposition on a Saturday. I know it comes from a place of him being so eager to push this team forward.
"Celina has so much quality. I don't think I've seen him give the ball away once in training yet and he's been here for two weeks! When he is eligible for selection he's just going to add so much much more firepower to us."
Burns started the 2-2 home draw against Morecambe on the opening day of the season, then sat out the subsequent games against Newport, Burton and Cheltenham before returning to side for the more recent matches against MK Dons, AFC Wimbledon (scored) and Bolton (two assists).
"It's kind of a weird one really," said the 26-year-old, when asked about his three-game absence.
"I was injured without really being injured if that makes sense? It's what's called Achilles tendinitis and I have that in both my Achilles. Basically it's just wear and tear. I had quite bad inflammation in both my Achilles, which made it quite difficult to run. I didn't have much strength through them.
"I was still able to go out and do various bits and bobs, but I wasn't at 100% where I could train every day and then play on a Saturday.
"I took that two to three weeks away, worked with the strength and conditioning guys in the gym, trying to get strength back through my calves and my Achilles. We had various appointments with specialists in London to make sure we were doing everything correctly.
"I'm still dealing with it a little bit now. I'm not at 100%, but I'm at a point now where I can at least get out there and play."