'The goals column isn't good enough... we have a couple of imbalances' - Cook

Paul Cook after his first game in charge of Ipswich at Gillingham

Paul Cook after his first game in charge of Ipswich at Gillingham. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says one of his immediate priorities is finding a formula that enables the team to score more goals.

The Blues have scored 36 goals in 31 league games so far this season - the seventh worst record in League One.

Cook's first game in charge ended with a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Gillingham on Saturday, with the new Blues boss saying he will make changes to the side for tomorrow night's home clash with Lincoln City.

Town are currently eighth in the table, two points off the play-off places and 12 adrift of the top two, with 15 games to go.

"I generally don’t like speaking about anything that’s gone on before me," said Cook, who replaced Paul Lambert in the hot seat last week. 

“But the truth is we’ve been a team that’s probably been a little bit inconsistent this season in terms of good and bad. 

“Certainly we saw the bad side Saturday, so let’s hope we can see the good side tomorrow night." 

He continued: “The first two or three days in the job are probably as manic as I've had in my career. The reality, when lads are travelling home from Accrington and getting back at three or four in the morning, by the time you get into Thursday you’re not training.  

Most Read

“It’s the same for every club by the way. That’s why pre-season is so important. Pre-season is where you do all your basic ground work for what’s ahead. 

“At the minute, certainly for me, it’s about trying to find a style of play and getting the best out of the group of players that we have. It’s about trying to find a formation that suits them all. 

“I think it’s there for everyone to see, we don’t score enough goals, do we? We don’t create enough chances. 

“Sometimes for a manager that can be difficult, because you’ll chop and change. And sometimes you’ll want to give the personnel more time. 

“Like every good team you have to have a supply to score goals and I feel that’s something we’ve got to get better at."

On his front two of James Norwood and Troy Parrott, Cook said: “I thought Troy Parrott was possibly, nearly, just about our best player on the day (at Gillingham). I thought he worked ever so hard, even though a lot of his work is misguided and comes in the wrong areas. 

“I think we do lack partnerships on the pitch. I’ve been brought up in teams who had a left-back and left-sided midfield, two centre-halves, two centre-mids... Those partnerships have to be allowed to flourish. 

“We are mindful of the fact that Troy’s 18. We’ve got young lads playing, the volume of games... 

“It’s important we factor everything in and that we get people in the correct slots where they are looking to play. 

“At the minute we have a couple of imbalances in the team. That’s not a criticism of anybody for what’s gone on, it’s just a fact that we’re searching for that magic formula that will see have a team that performs well, plays well and wins a game." 

On his desire for consistency, both in terms of team selection and results, Cook said: “When you have so many options it’s tough. The natural reaction, when you get beat, is to change teams. That’s football today. 

“But if you look at teams at the top end of any table, they are very consistent in terms of results and team selection. It’s something we’ve got to search for. 

“We had a good little run, but previous to that the results weren’t consistent enough.  

“The goals column, for me, isn’t good enough. It’s something that, going forward, irrespective of what damage it will do to the team, I need to see more goals at Ipswich Town. I don’t want to watch us defending deep and hanging on. I want our fans to know we’ll play on the front foot and we will get after people."

Asked if Saturday's defeat was a reality check following plenty of excitement that a promotion charge could be reignited, the Blues boss said: “When you win, everything is good. We override performances and what’s gone on in the game because we’re so satisfied that we’ve won a game of football. 

“All my teams over previous tenures I’ve always managed to start at a point and finish at a point. Within that procedure the team evolves, players will change and the squad will change. 

“We have to have certain criteria in that team. In that team we have to have aspects of the game that we all love. 

“In my world, I think football is about playing off your front foot, it’s about being expansive, progressive, passing the ball, looking good on the eye, but most of all winning. 

“That’s the balances that the top teams have.  

“For us, at the minute, we’re going to search for that identity for the next few weeks.  

“Along the way I want Ipswich fans to be absolutely assured that we are going to do everything we can to get in the play-offs and above." 

Asked if he was beginning to see where change needed to happen over the coming weeks and months, Cook replied: “That’s not for the public domain. I’m a great believer that well run clubs run in rooms and corridors where decisions are made and then fans see the product of those decisions. 

“What I say to the supporters is that I am absolutely committed to doing a good job for this football club. It won’t happen overnight. Nothing can be put right in football in a day, a week, a month.  

“But going forward there will be a lot of changes in what we’re doing on the pitch and off the pitch. We all want to be in a position where we’re dead proud of our team and we’re going to the matches looking forward to the game."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter