'Talking's fine...but we need to start fighting' - Chaplin on Town's troubles
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Ipswich Town star Conor Chaplin says there have been 'open and honest conversations' in the Blues' dressing room in the wake of Paul Cook's shock sacking - but insists that talking alone is not enough.
Chaplin, brought to Suffolk by Cook in the summer having played under him at Portsmouth, admitted he and the rest of the players were disappointed by his dismissal last Saturday night, a move seen as a sign of Town's ruthless ambition under the club's new owners and CEO Mark Ashton.
But forward Chaplin, who's scored six goals in 21 games this season, said that same ruthless ambition is also exciting for players.
"I was gutted when I found out the news, the same as everyone else," he explained, talking about Cook's departure.
"It was a surprise at the time, but it just outlines the ambition and the way the club's going - not waiting for anyone, and they want success now.
"As a player it's exciting but, at the same time, if you're not doing your job well and bringing enough to the table then you need to have a look at yourself, because otherwise you won't be at the club for long.
"That's exciting for a player, you want to be a part of a project and ambition, that's a big thing for your career - and I don't think a lot of players will have the opportunity to play at a club like this, with massive ambition, in their careers."
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He added: "I spoke to the gaffer after he left and obviously that's a private conversation.
"But wherever he goes next they will be very lucky, very lucky indeed."
Cook's sacking came as a result of a poor run of form for the Blues, with Chaplin in no doubt as to where the blame lies for that.
"That's the complete responsibility of the players," he insisted. "Every single one of us accepts that and owns up to it.
"There's been a lot said, especially with the gaffer losing his job, but it's not really time to keep talking and talking about - we need to start showing it on the pitch.
"That's something that everyone will be pushing to do."
He continued: "It's been difficult, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves. There's a game around the corner and points to be made.
"We're playing catch-up and we're not in denial of that, we're staring it straight in the face. We have to get to winning ways quickly and get back on track."
For now at least, Town are in the hands of interim boss John McGreal and his team, including Kieron Dyer and Rene Gilmartin.
That era started terribly on Tuesday night, the Blues turning in one of their worst performances of the season as they were well beaten 2-0 at Charlton, a game in which only the heroics of keeper Christian Walton kept the scoreline respectable.
Of the temporary management team, Chaplin said: "It's been good, it's been lively.
"Obviously it's been tough for them - they've got to try to get the morale going again and the confidence up. But they've just come in and said express yourselves.
"They don't know how long they're going to be in the job, we don't know how long they'll be in charge for. There's no point focusing on that, it's nothing to do with us.
"We're employed by the football club to go out there, work for us, work for the fans and work for the football club, so that's what we'll be doing."
He added: "There's been open and honest conversations in the dressing toom, definitely.
"People have voiced their opinions and, like I said, talking's fine - it's fine to say where you think it's gone wrong and where we need to improve - but we need to start showing it, start putting performances in on the pitch and start fighting and scrapping."
Tuesday night also saw ugly scenes after the game, defender Toto Nsiala confronting angry fans and Walton then being pushed by one 'supporter' who ran onto the pitch as the keeper tried to calm the situation.
Chaplin said he understands the emotion from fans.
"100% I get it completely," he stressed. "I feel like I'm starting to get a good relationship with the fans, they've been really good to me since I came here, really supportive and welcoming.
"I can't speak highly enough of them. Obviously we need them onside, but we need to give them something to shout about.
"There's people paying their money and travelling the length and width of the country to come and watch us, they're completely entitled to their opinion and they want to see more on the pitch than what's gone on.
"Obviously the frustration is there for numerous reasons, so we just need to make sure we start performing and put it right.
"Fingers crossed the fans can get behind us."
The opportunity to start to put things right comes in short order - a trip to high-flying Wigan Athletic this weekend.
On paper it looks a daunting task for a side still reeling from Cook's sacking and on a dreadful run of form.
But Chaplin said: "What better way to get on track?
"Wigan are doing well and flying, but what better way to bounce back, so we'll focus on that in our preparations this week in training.
"No-one's feeling sorry for themselves. No-one's looking anywhere else but inside the dressing room.
"We need to start coming up with some answers, and fast."
Of course, the big question to which every Town fan currently wants the answer to is who will be the new man to lead the Blues.
Chaplin, though, is happy to wait.
"The sooner the better obviously," he said. "But in terms of the timescale it's probably more important that it's the right person - that's a lot more important.
"There's a lot of people higher up in the club who have responsibility for that and the players don't have any interest in that until the new gaffer's here.
"We'll just keep doing our job, keep staying professional and that's what is expected of us."