'Lads took their opportunity' - Cook on 2-0 Trophy win at Gillingham
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says a lot of players ‘did themselves the world of good’ in tonight’s 2-0 win at Gillingham in the Papa John’s Trophy.
Joe Pigott and Conor Chaplin both scored in a very comfortable win at Priestfield Stadium, with several players giving their manager a selection headache going into Saturday’s home League One clash with Shrewsbury.
“I’m delighted,” said Cook. “I think when you look back to the Newport and West Ham (U21s) games (in cup competitions) we’re really disappointed with those results because of the quality of player we have within the club.
“But lads haven’t got going at our club yet. I know we’re 10 league games in and a couple of cups, but Pigott hasn’t got going, Chaplin hasn’t got going, lads have been hampered by injuries and Covid. Tonight we saw glimpses of what they can do and that was great for our supporters.
“I think we were all so disappointed when we left the stadium on Saturday (after a 2-1 loss at Accrington Stanley), none more so than myself, the staff and the players. We know we let everyone down. But when we’re new and we’re learning about each other we’ve got to go through a bit of pain to get to where we want to go.
“Tonight was an opportunity for players who haven’t played a lot of games and been subs and a lot of them done themselves the world of good. That’s great credit to them.
“I don’t know our best team. I’m sure our supporters don’t know our best team. Our formation seems to be set in stone, in a certain way. There’s one or two positions we will alter in games, without a shadow of a doubt.
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“Tonight was an opportunity and I thought the lads took that opportunity. I'm sure our fans left the stadium quite happy.”
The Blues boss continued: “Sone Aluko was ill this morning. Our front four was supposed to be Aluko, Chaplin, (Kyle) Edwards and Pigott. That’s a very, very heavy front four in any division. The quality is in the squad, the fitness levels are going up all the time.
“We all left Accrington disappointed because the previous three games had promised so much. All I promise our fans is we will work so hard. We’ve got such a long way to go this season. If we can win games we can build confidence quickly.
“Tonight I was happy for Louie Barry, for example, who came on and looked really, really electric and bright. That’s great for his confidence.
“Confidence goes away quickly but it also comes back very quickly. We had a lot of good performances tonight.”
On Myles Kenlock returning from the cold to start at left-back, Cook said: “In the summer we did what we did. There were a lot of players we wanted to leave.
“Myles Kenlock has done nothing but perform for this club with credit. They’ll be no disrespectful treatment for players like that. Myles hasn’t caused problems. Myles never left. He’s got a contract at the club and he’ll be welcomed back into the squad now. As you can see tonight he performed excellently.”
Asked if any other players had caught his eye, Cook said: “I’m only singling Louie out because it’s tough when you come with such a reputation from Villa. You could go right though our players –
Kayden Jackson, Kane Vincent-Young... We played well tonight. It was a solid performance away from home and we looked a threat.
“I thought (Toto) Nsiala and (Luke) Woolfenden were excellent. Tomas (Holy), who had a little blip at home in the last one, came in tonight and looked a commanding goalkeeper. Great credit to everyone.”