'A bit of sanity must prevail' - Cook on 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook at Cheltenham Town.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook at Cheltenham Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says 'a bit of sanity must prevail' after his new-look team's slow start to the season continued with a 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham Town tonight.

The Blues took an early lead through Matt Penney's strike, with Macauley Bonne guilty of an extraordinary miss soon afterwards.

That proved costly. Town looked in total control of the game on the hour mark, but they still managed to lose after Callum Wright (62) and Will Boyle (82) both netted after long Ben Tozer throw-ins caused havoc.

"It's just so disappointing, isn't it?" said Cook, whose team have started the campaign with a draw against Morecambe followed by defeats against Newport, Burton and Cheltenham.

"Our supporters travelled in great numbers again. We started the game really well, looked a really dangerous side, but then unfortunately we end up defending our 18-yard box for too many throw-ins.

"Two bounces of the ball went against us. Macauley should put us 2-0 up and then we concede a bit of a disappointing goal. Then all of a sudden we're on the back of another two goals against.

"As you all know, all good teams are built on solidity and unfortunately enough at the minute we're not as solid as we'd like to be that's for sure."

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He continued: "I understand everyone's questions. I've been around football all my life. I understand the fans' expectancy and everyone's expectancy. We've had Tom Carroll making his debut (as an 88th minute sub), we've had big (Cameron) Burgess making his debut, we've got Hayden Coulson on the bench for the first time.

"We're not making excuses, but the reality is we need a little bit of time to gel and a little bit of time to get it all together. But we also should be doing better than what we are with the players we have available. So there's a little bit of both in there."

Asked if he was seeing enough in performances to suggest that first win will soon come, Town now hosting MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon, Cook replied: "I think when Macauley chips it over the lad's head and he's in on goal with no goalie and we're 1-0 up, I think even you might have thought it was coming! 

"As a manager I try and be as calm as I can because it's easy after a game now, with the way football is, not to be.

"We're Ipswich Town and every team is going the extra yard to beat us. I get that. For our lads now the last thing they need is for me shouting and screaming at them. I don't feel pressure. I feel pressure to get the team to perform to the ability that I can. I feel pressure to get the players on the pitch that we've signed - the Chaplins, Edmundsons, Coulsons and the like.

"We've got a lot of good players who haven't even played yet. So the reality for us is we're searching for us first win. Hopefully we'll get that on Saturday."

He continued: "I 100% get it for Ipswich Town fans. Everyone will always have opinions and I respect everyone's opinions. When you have as many changes at a club as we have, if people think we're just going to go straight on a run and click... Cameron Burgess has only just met Woolfy (Luke Woolfenden). We're asking them to then go and play together. Vas (Hladky) has only just met Burgess. We're then asking them to go and play against a team that put you under pressure.

"So a bit of sanity must prevail. Though we are very, very disappointed, of course we are."

The recent arrivals of Burgess and Carroll have taken Town's number of summer signings up to 17. Asked if that would be it for incoming players, Cook replied: "You never know do you? Let's just see.

"You have to have a little bit of manners when you get beat. I always try to. I'm deeply hurt, as you can imagine, especially after being 1-0 up and it's looking good. Unfortunately it hasn't gone our way. We'll just keep working hard.

"Football is a long season and you need all your players fit and available. We've had a massive overhaul in players. We've had a few injuries. They're not excuses, they are just statements of fact.

"They're not excuses for why we haven't won tonight or against Burton, but big moments in games aren't going our way at the minute. We must make them go our way.

"I thought our performance tonight was okay. Sometimes we have a lot of possession without penetration. When teams sit low against you and counter-attack it's a lot more difficult than people think.

"We gave a goal against Morecambe away, we gave one against Burton away where the opposition has not been in the ascendancy but they've scored. Tonight, after 60 minutes we looked very comfortable in the game, but we end up losing 2-1. So that's the learning curve."

On Kyle Edwards, who again caught the eye with some exciting play, Cook enthused: "He's going to be a fantastic player for the club. I think you can see why we courted him for so long. Great credit to our owners, again, for pursuing such a quality player.

"I think everyone can see the quality he possesses. It's now about integrating him quickly. We've got to get him the ball. For some reason, we stopped getting him the ball. It's something we'll go back and analyse."

And on debutant Burgess, he added: "I thought he was outstanding. We're talking about guys here who haven't even been in the building. We've put such a good squad together, that's a given, and the reality is we want to win every game.

"We've also got to factor in how hard the opposition want to beat you. We've got to build our lads to be resilient and see these games out."

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