'Post Wycombe is when you'll see us up and running' - Cook

Ipswich Manager Paul Cook at Cheltenham Town.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says his new-look squad needs time to gel. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook believes it will take his new-look team another three games to truly get up to speed.

Following wholesale summer changes, the Blues have failed to beat Morecambe (2-2 home draw), Newport (1-0 home loss in the Carabao Cup), Burton and Cheltenham (both 2-1 away wins) at the start of this campaign.

They now don't have a midweek match until the middle of September, with games against MK Dons (h), AFC Wimbledon (h), Wycombe (a) and Bolton (h) being played across the next four weekends.  

"We all know football today," said Cook. "There’s you guys (the media) and social media. The knives and the vultures quickly circle don’t they? No-one waits around no more. 

“When you put a new team together like we have then to expect them just to hit the ground running is probably a bit unrealistic. 

“If you look back on the three games, I think any neutral would say at one point in all three it looked like it was only us who would win the game.  

“When we equalised against Morecambe I think it was a fair assumption we would go on and win. At Burton Albion, when we got the penalty, you’re probably thinking it’s going to be our day. And then obviously when Macauley (Bonne)  misses a chance on Tuesday night where you’d expect him to score.

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“And no-one misses penalties and chances deliberately guys. It’s football. We’ve just got to make sure those moments start going our way. 

“We’re dominating games better, we’re in the ascendency of possession better, we look more of a threat, our fitness levels are better. The reality now is that we’re just waiting for the results to go our way."

Cameron Burgess walks out onto the pitch for his debut at Cheltenham Town.

Paul Cook has made 16 signings for Ipswich Town this summer. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Asked if this was a little bit a of a test of character for his players, Cook said: “In football, pressure is never far away. It’s the nature of the game we’re in today. If people think that sacking managers and changing squads is the way forwards, well we can’t change peoples’ perspectives. 

“If people think it’s right to criticise a group of players we haven't even all got on the pitch yet, then criticise. I will never stop people having opinions in football. 

“What I will do, and I've done this at all my clubs in moments where things haven't gone well, is we work harder, we fight more, we do the basics better and then our quality will shone through. I’ve no doubt that will happen at Ipswich Town. 

“I just keep going. When I was at Portsmouth, as I've said, we drew with Carlisle, we drew at Crewe, we lost at Morecambe (at the start of the season) and we won the league winning 7-1 on the final day. So if anyone wants to criticise us, no problem! 

“When you put new teams together it takes time. That’s the brutal reality of it.  

“There’s a pressure of being at this club, so getting results quickly will help everyone’s situation.  

“I’m a great believer that performances lead to results. I’ll concentrate on getting our players confident and ready to walk out at Portman Road and believe we’re invincible. 

“When that happens then we will be hard to stop."

Macauley Bonne celebrates after scoring to level the game at 2-2.

Macauley Bonne has been named Ipswich Town's Player of the Month for August. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller.com

Cook continued: “I don’t mind saying this, we will look to after Wimbledon at home, when everyone will hopefully be fit and available. We will then be training a first full week together and going to Wycombe. So I think probably post Wycombe you’ll see us up and running. 

“Whatever the results are until there we’ll see. The more positive the better. But the more time we get together will only see us improve as a team. 

“Whatever experiences you have in games, the reality is you’ll go through them again. We will lead 1-0 away from home again, we will be 1-0 down at home again. It’s how you learn from your experiences – especially the bad ones. 

“Our lads are going through a learning curve at the minute. They will get better and stronger. 

“Don't forget, you can’t conquer the world in a day can you? One of the disappointing things for me last year was I never felt we were the best team on the pitch. In all three games this season I felt we took control. Unfortunately we haven’t had the correct results, but you can’t do everything overnight. 

“At the minute we are very much a work in progress. That’s no different to what Sunderland probably are, no different to Wigan as well. Around that you’ve got teams like Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham who have got the nucleus of strong squads that have been together for a period time."

Paul Cook before kick-off at Burton Albion.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook, pictured before his side's 2-1 loss at Burton last weekend. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

On his desire to start building some team chemistry, Cook said: "If you go back historically though all my teams you’ll see there were key partnerships developed. 

“For us as a club now, when you’ve got possession of a shirt then you’ve got to keep it and make sure nobody takes it off you. 

“Unfortunately, with the lateness of the signings, and all the excuses you want to add, we’ve just got to get up and running. The partnerships will happen. 

“When we sign players we want them to be fit and ready, but in modern day football that’s not necessarily the case. And one thing’s for sure, nobody will be feeling sorry for us!  

“We’ve just got to keep working hard. Time is very much our friend in terms of getting better and stronger. 

“I know time is not something some people want to give you in football. They think sacking managers every week is the right way. That’s the football world and that’s life. I’ve been in it long enough to know the rules. I’ll just keep working as hard as I can every day to see the progress we’re making on the training ground come out on the pitch."

It was then put to Cook Blackpool and Oxford were 18th and 23rd respectively in the league at the end of last October and both went on to finish in the play-offs, Blackpool gaining promotion.

“The only way you change opinion is by what happens on the football pitch," replied Cook. "We can have as many of these Zoom meetings as you want. I can speak about time as much as I want. 

“We all know we’ll get results in the end because the reality is we have a strong group of players. We have a really good appetite to be successful. It’s just about getting these players together. 

“We’ve got players at the club now who are very good and very exciting. All we’ve got to do now is give them time to adapt. 

“You all have your jobs to do. You’ll have phone-ins and everything else. At the end of the day I will not change my views on the game or my principles. 

“If anyone wants to look back on my managerial career to see what has happened, have a look back. I've always had exciting teams. We've always scored goals and we’ve always taken the fight to to the opposition. That’s exactly what we plan to do at Ipswich Town. 

“So for people who want to get ahead of themselves quickly... feel free! Management is not easy. We live from game to game. I don’t live in that world though. I live in a world of building and being progressive. 

“My big thing is I trust in players. That’s my biggest thing. Macauley Bonne hasn’t meant to miss a header from two yards at Cheltenham - come on! Scott Fraser hasn’t meant to miss a penalty at Burton - come on! 

“These are the moments that will go our way. 

“You’ve known me for a period of time now. I'm not going to keep answering the boring questions. They do bore me to be honest with you. I’m just looking forward to the game tomorrow. I’m so excited to come out to that crowd again and watch our lads play and hopefully improve."

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