'There will be no days off or big holidays' - Cook on 2-1 win at Swindon

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook celebrates the win over Swindon Town

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook celebrates the win over Swindon Town - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook vowed that 'there will be no days off or big holidays' this summer after the club's long-fading play-off hopes were finally extinguished this afternoon.

James Norwood scored twice and spurned a hat-trick opportunity from the penalty spot as the Blues ended an 11-hour goal drought and six-game winless run with a 2-1 success at already-relegated Swindon Town.

Town move up to 10th in the League One table but, with just two games to go, it is now mathematically impossible for them to finish in the top-six.

Teddy Bishop, Kane Vincent-Young and Armando Dobra all had golden opportunities to break the deadlock in the first half before Norwood netted from the spot in the 43rd minute.  

Cook had jokingly said pre-match that he would perform a topless goal celebration when his team did eventually score, but despite suggestions from his coaching staff to go through with the promise his shirt stayed on.

"If I'd have got my belly out I'd have been in trouble!" he laughed.

"I'm just pleased for the lads because this group pf people now have been burdened for too long. Like I told them before the game, in a week's time all those burdens and shackles will come away.

"I'll make everyone at the club happy. People who don't want to be in Ipswich Town's dressing room will not stay another day at the football club.

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"We just want a team focused and desired and aspiring to make us a better football club." 

 Paul Cook in good spirits just before the start of the game against Swindon Town

Paul Cook in good spirits just before the start of the game against Swindon Town - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

On the game, the Blues boss said: "I told Kane Vincent-Young I've never seen someone miss chances like him! He can miss from three yards out can't he?!

"It's pleasing though because when you create chances you're okay with what comes. It's when we haven't been creating and have looked lacklustre that's been the worry.

"Today, at times, we flitted into really good situations where we played well and opened Swindon up. That was great to see.

"The confidence to go on and win the game more comfortably should have been there, but unfortunately we let a poor goal in which gave Swindon a bit of energy.

"Credit to Tommy Wright and Swindon. When you get relegated it can be tough to get motivated, but I felt they represented their club with real credit today. They kept going until the final whistle. But we're pleased to get a win on the road."

MORE: Ratings: How the Ipswich Town players performed in their 2-1 victory over Swindon

Asked he had began to feel like it was going to be one of those days as chances went begging in the first half, Cook replied: "Not really, because you can't be hurt as a manager. You get to a point of acceptance.

"I've accepted what's going on at Ipswich Town now. The acceptance for me is that it's my job, Mark Ashton's job and our American owners to change the club for the better. That's not a criticism of anything that's gone on before.

"When you've been around football, we know that Ipswich Town's place in the pyramid is not 10th/11th in League One. Our obligation now is to make the supporters happy and proud of the team.

"This summer there will be no days off or big holidays for anyone, we will just work and work and work in pursuit of that success."

With topscorer Norwood moving onto nine goals for the season, his second a poacher's finish after a slack back pass, Cook said: "James needs supply. If you watch our youth team last night (beating Sheffield United 3-2 in a thrilling FA Youth Cup quarter-final), the crosses and the penetration is coming from all angles.We haven't had that. During my time, the lack of creativity in the team has been a disappointment.

"But there's no criticism now for the players. The next week or two will bring a lot of decisions and changes for our supporters. We want to look forward to next season with real optimism with Mark Ashton coming in, our new owners coming in and we want the club to be a real happy, bouncing place. 

"Let's finish the season with as much pride as we can, let's try and stay unbeaten. Whatever the next two games brings it brings. Then let's look forward to a summer and season where we can hopefully make the team represent the club in a better way than we have over the last two years."

He added: "It's going to be a difficult couple of games finishing off, but coming away from home and winning is important.

"Because you get criticisms levelled at you - myself, the staff, the players - and it hurts. It does hurt.

"The level we've offered up over my period and the previous periods under other managers, it hasn't been good enough for this football club. I include myself in that.

"Going forwards it will change. Whether it changes and we go and do great then that remains to be seen, but it certainly will change that's for sure."

Cook continued: "Winning is everything. Winning in football is huge. You've got to want to win, you've got to create moments to win and you've got to take chances when they come.

"I keep giving the same messages to our flair players. Managers want to trust players, but to trust a player he's got to deliver stuff. And if you want to play for big clubs nowadays the reality is you have to create or score goals in flair positions. And you've got to have defensive solidity. That's something you've got to get right at both ends of the pitch.

"In my career I've sometimes been criticised for not having Plan B, but I've always thought if you're very good at Plan A then why should you change it? That's something I clamour to create for us going forwards. The demands on the players will be big. Fitness is huge. Quality when you get in good areas and crosses in the box.

"It's like a big jigsaw football. If you put all the right pieces together correctly you'll have a good team.

"I was pleased for the players today to win. It was nice for them when we know the season is done.

"The reality is it just keeps our supporters... whatever it keeps them. But I think everybody knows the future is the most important thing now."

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