'We didn't respect the game' - Cook on FA Cup draw with Oldham

Town manager Paul Cook looks on

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook watches on during the FA Cup draw with Oldham. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook said his players 'didn't respect the game' following this afternoon's 1-1 home draw with League Two strugglers Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup first round.

Cook made just one enforced change to the team which secured a magnificent 4-1 win at League One high-fliers in midweek and it looked like a comfortable afternoon was in store after Wes Burns put the Blues ahead after just eight minutes.

Complacency crept in for the lacklustre hosts though and, after a couple of warning signs, David Keillor-Dunn bent in an equaliser as half-time approached.

Town's second half display was full of unforced errors and ultimately it took a fine Christian Walton penalty save from Dylan Bahamboula to secure a replay at Bounday Park.

Asked what he made of his team's display, Cook said: "Probably the same as you. I think you've already written your paper and your scripts.

"We picked the same team that, four nights ago, left the field to a standing ovation from an ecstatic support. I've watched the same players today play like that.

"Sometimes as a manager you just look at the floor and shake your head. Our inconsistency at the minute is our consistency. 

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"We didn't respect the game today. We didn't show an appetite to win a football game. We didn't show the hunger that good teams show regularly.

Christian Walton saves an Oldham Athletic penalty, taken by Dylan Bahamboula.

Christian Walton saves an Oldham Athletic penalty, taken by Dylan Bahamboula. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

"Oldham were full value for the draw today. We didn't create enough chances. You can just write a book on what we did wrong.

"Like I've just said to our players, we have to go to Oldham on a Tuesday night now and put it right."

When it was put to Cook that he must be scratching his head, the Blues boss replied: "No, no. That's our team. At the minute that's what we've put together.

"As a manager sometimes you're quite cool and comfortable when you actually know what players are going to do. 

"For me as a manager, going forwards we want a lot more consistency from our players. We want to turn up and know what we get. 

"Even if that was a difficult day for us today, which it was, we should have found a way to win so we could all have gone home tonight and said 'we weren't quite at it, we were disappointing, but we're in the next round'.

"Yet we've relied on a great Christian Walton penalty save to still be in it."

Wes Burns celebrates giving Town a 1-0 lead.

Wes Burns celebrates giving Town a 1-0 lead. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

On his team's dominant start, he said: "We've had plenty of perfect starts (and not won). We took the lead against West Ham (U21s) in the Trophy. We've had many games where we've sat there thinking 'here we go'. Today was no different. 

"We've just got to keep working at it. We've got to eradicate mistakes. The ill-discipline sometimes with free-kicks still stands out. 

"Most importantly, if you're a good player you have to have the mentality that every time you cross the white line you give a percentage of a performance. The percentages of our performance today was way down. That's something myself and the staff will all take on board. We all win together and we all lose together."

Asked if such levels of inconsistency were worrying him ahead of crunch League One games against Oxford United, Sunderland and Rotherham, Cook said: "Erm, does it worry me going forwards? No, because, as I say to you guys quite regularly, the opposition is quite irrelevant to how we play. It's about us. I would imagine that, hopefully, the bigger the game, the bigger the occasion, probably the bigger the performance. Let's watch this space."

On naming the same team that finished the 4-1 win at Wycombe, he laughed: "I said to the fans coming off 'you're damned if you and you're damned if you don't'! That was, on paper, our strongest team, especially after Tuesday night's performance where, to a man, everyone got all the plaudits they deserved. Today we looked a shadow of that team.

"As a manager you are as good as your players. At the minute we are a very inconsistent team. That's the truth. We show really good signs. But today was a really flat, lacklustre performance from a team that just didn't turn up.

"If you don't turn up it's very hard to change from the gear you are in to go into another one."

Oldham players celebrate with Davis Keillor-Dunn (10) after he had scored to level the game at 1-1.

Oldham players celebrate with Davis Keillor-Dunn (10) after he had scored to level the game at 1-1. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

On the soft looking penalty that was awarded to Oldham in the second half, Cook said: "You've got to be careful. I'm not one for criticising referees, but if you start giving them for bits of pulling then the reality is you'll be giving a lot of penalties in games. But, as I've said, I thought Oldham deserved the draw. Credit to Keith (Curle) and his players."

With Town now heading to Oldham for a replay a week on Tuesday - that trip falling between the games against Oxford (h) and Sunderland (a) - Cook joked: "I've got family up in the north west! Privately I'm absolutely delighted! So thanks to the players for getting me up there!

"No, listen... The games come thick and fast and we've got a big enough squad to manage every situation.

"We all wanted to get through, I think the team reflected that, so we all leave the stadium disappointed with that result."

Town are next in action on Tuesday night when League Two side Colchester United head up the A12 for a winner-takes-all final group game in the Papa Johns Trophy. 

"The team will change on Tuesday for that one, " said Cook. "We've got a lot of players ready to play and so the team will reflect that. If the fans want to pay their money that's what will be turning up."

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