'You don't always get what you deserve' - Cook on 2-0 loss at Sunderland
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook was left ruing first half profligacy following a 2-0 defeat at Sunderland this afternoon.
Bersant Celina spurned two golden opportunities during the opening period. The Blues dominated possession after the break but were hit by two late sucker punches as Luke O'Nien headed in at a corner (85) and Aiden McGeady converted after the softest of penalty awards (90+3).
"We played well, we played very well," said a deflated Cook, who side have slipped to 10th in the League One table, the gap to sixth-place Sunderland widening to seven points .
"We controlled the game for long, long spells. I didn't feel we were in any trouble in the game and yet we come away on the end of a 2-0.
"You've got to say well done to Sunderland. Football is about results and Sunderland have got the result. You have to respect that."
Asked about the late penalty award, Ross Stewart's shot striking Toto Nsiala's arm from close range, Cook replied: "I'm just not going to talk about it, there's no point. The game has finished 2-0. Crying and whinging is not going to help me is it?
"We had chances to be in the lead, we had chances to be in the ascendancy, we controlled the game as we wanted to, I felt we played very, very well and unfortunately we haven't got the result. So we say well done to Sunderland and we move on."
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Asked if it was just the question of the final ball lacking, the Blues boss said: "It wasn't in the first half was it? We had big moments. Second half I felt the game petered out, if I'm truthful, with Sunderland sitting very deep and happy to let us have the ball in areas. We didn't really look like opening them up. We stopped getting the ball wide and getting good crosses in.
"Obviously then we've ended up on the end of a 2-0. The (first) goal is what it is. Then the penalty decision... You couldn't make it up could you?
"We're disappointed with the result, we really, really are, because we fully deserved something out the game. But that's football isn't it?
"It's footy. We tried to make a sub or two to get more energy on. If someone had said to you at 85 minutes that Ipswich would lose the game 2-0 I think you would have fell over because I never saw it coming. I felt we were in control of the game. We had a lot of possession in the second half, albeit without looking like scoring, but we had big chances in the first half. You've got to take your chances.
"If one of those chances had gone in then Sunderland would have had to come on to us. The fans demand that here. Instead they were happy to sit off us and let us have possession. At 0-0 everyone is happy with that. If we are 1-0 up I'm not sure the supporters here accept that. There might have been more spaces for us to penetrate. Unfortunately there wasn't.
"We've got great respect for Sunderland, Lee (Johnson) and all the lads here. We've lost the game, we have manners and we move on. Simple as that."
Speaking about the penalty award further, Cook said: "There's an incident in the first half where one of our players (Macauley Bonne) is punched twice as clear as anything (by Bailey Wright) and they don't see it. There's four of them there.
"Then the referee manages to give a penalty that everyone in the stadium is shocked at. It is what it is. The referee's do their best. There's no criticism towards the referee, I just felt in those moments they could have done better."
He continued: "I'm just really disappointed. We've had really good travelling support and we wanted to get a good positive result that would see us get in a better position. We've played quite well today, but unfortunately you don't always get what you deserve.
"But I've been around football long enough to know that if we keep playing like that we won't have a problem that's for sure."
On the absence of Wes Burns from the squad, Cook explained: "Wes has got a slight hamstring problem from Tuesday night which is obviously disappointing because it will keep him out for a short period of time."
When it was put to him that Burns' replacement, Sone Aluko, had played well, Cook said: "We could go through the team and break it down, but we've lost 2-0. You can't be saying 'well done' and patting people on the back. Could we have done more to win the game? I don't feel we could. Did we look comfortable in the game? Yes, I felt we were. Unfortunately we've lost. That's football.
"You have to take your medicine. We say well done to Sunderland. It's a long, long season and we have to come back stronger."
With the previously free-scoring Ipswich having now drawn a blank in three of their last four games, Cook said: "I was happy with us last weekend against Oxford. Second half I felt we played really, really well.
"You're always trying to put every piece to the jigsaw. The hardest one, as everyone knows, is the final one - goals and finishing. We had chances today. We didn't just dominate the ball and not look a threat. First half we had big moments."