'I'll never shut up shop' - Cook on 2-2 draw at Cambridge United

Paul Cook after the final whistle at Cambridge.

Paul Cook after the final whistle at Cambridge. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says he'll never be a manager that looks to 'shut up shop' after his team let a 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2 at Cambridge United this afternoon.

Sone Aluko's first half brace (10, 36) gave the dominant Blues a two-goal lead, but James Brophy fired in off the underside of the bar (40) to halve the deficit before the break.

Town weren't able to score a killer third after the restart and then succumbed to some late pressure as Joe Ironside forced the ball home at a corner (88). 

When it was put to Cook that it must have been a tough result to take, he replied: "Yeah and no, if I'm honest with you.

"For 43 minutes I genuinely enjoyed us today, I thought we were excellent and thoroughly enjoyed the lead.

"Then a goal before half-time changes the whole mood in the stadium, whether you like it or not. It's a soft, soft goal from our point of view and it's a great goal from Cambridge's point of view.

"Second half we have plenty of possession in really good areas, we got into some penetrating areas, but we didn't really create the chance to score again that probably would have put the game to bed.

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"Cambridge were excellently honest all game, they kept knocking on the door and you know when those corners come in late on they've got some big guys and there's always that chance. Unfortunately we succumbed to it, which is disappointing because it was a great day today.

"It was a great derby match, a great atmosphere and I enjoyed watching us. But unfortunately we've just got that Achilles heel in us that's there for everyone to see. Goals for is not a problem, goals against is a big concern."

Sitting in 15th place, Town move to within five points of the League One play-off places. They are, however, nine points adrift of fifth heading into Tuesday night's game at Portsmouth.

Cook continued: "Since I've been managing Ipswich I've learnt one thing - you're never comfortable in the game. No matter what we're doing, you're not comfortable.

"We've worked so hard this week in training, really hard. Everything we worked on we've done. We got that 2-0 lead, we were on the front foot, we were aggressive, we won every individual battle on the pitch - we did everything we didn't do at Accrington. 

"At 2-0 you're thinking 'we're going to kick into our fans in the second half, we've got to score in front of them and they'll go home so happy'. Yet we're sitting here 46, 47 minutes later with a different story.

"From my point of view it's just learning all the time about the players. In the latter stages of the game who's going to be the one to win a big header and clear it? Is the goalkeeper going to come and catch it? Whatever it may be.

"Every team will have moments and at 2-1 you're not clear in any game."

Asked what the poor defensive record was down to, Cook said: "You will not get me digging players out or going after people. That's not my style. My style is to work harder on the training ground, watch clips back, show them the stages of the game. For 43 minutes away from home it was a great derby performance and the stadium is flat apart from the Ipswich fans who were jubilant.

"But we found a way to give them a leg up and then showed no signs of scoring. That's something that you can't do. It's a no. In the last two minutes you see the game out. You're kicking towards your supporters, you score again after half-time. At 3-0 then it becomes a celebration. Unfortunately for us we're not at that stage yet of our development."

With Cambridge beginning to put a bit of pressure on Town, Cook brought on three attacking players in Wes Burns, Bersant Celina and Kyle Edwards.

Asked if he had considered more defensive changes to help see the game out, the Blues boss said: "Don't forget guys, when you sit here and the result has gone against you, it doesn't matter what you do. It really doesn't.

"We put Kyle Edwards, Celina and Wes Burns on. Our intent was to score again. Unfortunately for us, and credit to Cambridge, we didn't look like scoring. 

"So it's easy to sit there and say about what you've done. As a manager I've never believed in shutting up shop. That's not my style. We travel as Ipswich Town and we should score again second half. Unfortunately for us we never."

On surprise starter Aluko, who scored with a cool lob and scrambled home a second at a corner, Cook said: "Outstanding. When he turned up start of the season he probably wasn't as fit as where we would have wanted him to have been.

"I think he's been training like every day is his last. He's been screaming in training to play and I think our fans have seen a real glimpse of Sone Aluko today. I think he was a massive positive."

On the absence of Lee Evans and Joe Pigott from the squad, Cook explained: "Lee Evans' missus was induced with a baby and Joe Pigott's father passed away this morning very sadly. Our thoughts are with Joe.

"But I thought the team today should have won. We did enough in the game to win. We travelled as a big club, our support was great, I thought our attitude was first class. Unfortunately, from a winning position we found a way to give it up. That's something we need to go away and look at."

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