'We're not far off a Sunday League team that has won a cup to play at Portman Road' - Cook on 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon

Town manager Paul Cook shouting instructions from the touchline.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook shouting instructions from the touchline. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook once again slammed his players following this afternoon's goalless home draw with AFC Wimbledon.

The Blues have now drawn five of their last eight games 0-0, gone more than 10 hours without scoring and remain 11th in the League One table with a record of W2 D6 L5 since Cook replaced Paul Lambert in the hot seat.

"I know I can't shut up, and I've got to be careful, because I don't want to go on, so I'll try and be as brief as I can," said Cook.

"First half is possibly, and I've got to have a good memory, the worst performance of one of my teams that I have ever seen in my whole managerial career.

"I've never seen a team play like that, I've never seen a team lack every quality on a football pitch, including the biggest one - honesty - including winning contact, winning second ball, doing basic stuff well.

"It's so disappointing, but nothing will sort of sway me now. I've been of a mindset for a period of time now, probably before Marcus (Evans) left the club and the new ownership came in, with what needed to happen. The plans behind the scenes haven't changed.

"I just feel like we're not far off a Sunday League team that has won a cup to come and play at Portman Road. Are you with me?

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"You look at the stadium being empty and you're so thankful that it is empty because the first half was an absolute shambles of a performance. 

"Second half I felt we were honest. We done a lot better. Dobs (Armando Dobra) came on and gave us a lift by just purely wanting to play football and be a kid who loves football. You look at some of ours and it's like they don't like being footballers. Well they won't have to wait much longer for that to happen."

Town manager Paul Cook calms things down.

Town manager Paul Cook calms things down. - Credit: Steve Waller-www.stephenwaller.c

Cook was visibly raging on the sidelines during the first half. Asked what he said to the players at half-time, he replied: "Listen, I'm not coming out to say that. I'll give you my honest assessment, as I always will.

"I'm the manager of this football team and I can't stand watching us play. That breaks my heart. That team does not epitomise what I like about the game. It's the total opposite."

On his team now going more than 10 hours without scoring, the Blues boss quipped: "I would imagine it will be... How long's left? Three 90s, that's 27... I reckon our fans are going to have to get ready for more.

"We had a couple of chances second half. Keanan Bennetts has gone clean through in the first half and you can see sometimes when we get in those positions that our confidence isn't there.

"That's something you can speak about forever. Confidence, confidence... It becomes boring. Go and be the one who does it. Go and be the one who gains confidence by scoring.

"There's been enough excuses around here now. Do you know what I mean?

"I'm only coming out here now... I might even ban you all for the next three games because it's going to be actually quite pointless isn't it? It's pointless me coming out and trying to show I'm the tough guy.

"I don't like watching us play. I don't think that team represents me. I think they're soft, I think we lack character and I think we lack big players.

"I hope and I pray that I'm the one who can change that."

He added: "We've got two weeks to go of a season that has fallen completely flat. And that's under me. We were in a really good position and have wilted to being a really soft and easy to beat.

"Teams like Wimbledon come to Portman Road and from the first minute they are probably the better team on the pitch - and that's sad. No disrespect to Wimbledon by the way, please don't take those comments wrong, but it's sad that we offer not a lot."

On his decision to replace keeper Tomas Holy with David Cornell, Cook said: "I think you've seen it. Big Oli (Hawkins) came in and did okay. He's as honest as day at the top end of the pitch. Dai made a few saves, including the penalty. But I think in general now we've seen everybody. You guys have seen them more than me.

"There will be no stupid statements from me. I think I've made one or two there haven't I when I look back? I don't think I need to make any more."

It was then put to Cook that he had insisted that there would be 'no more criticism of the players' following Tuesday night's 3-0 loss at Northampton. Have they just made it impossible for him to stick to that promise today?

"It has to stop doesn't it?" he said. "You know me, you've been around me a little bit, I'll be as honest as I can. I've enjoyed managing. I was out of work for eight, nine months and I couldn't wait to get back in. The way my team is playing at the minute I'll be out of work again pretty soon. That's not me. I don't represent the football club like that. The players are representing us at the minute.

"I know the fans know that. Whatever I say now can't change anything.

"I'm going to try and be a little bit quieter now and not discuss everything that you might need me to. Let's just wait for the changes to come."

Speaking in his interview with the club website, Cook said: "There was no fight, no desire. It's like we've won a raffle to play at this ground. And it's all on me.

"I find it really baffling and really strange that we all have the privilege to be at this club and we turn up and out in a non performance like that.

"I think a lot of people have left the building haven't they? And that's sad.

"I feel sorry for our fans watching on iFollow. I think Marcus (Evans) told me there were 10,000 watching some of the first games. I wouldn't want to know the figure now because I'm sure the fans have something better to do than watch us."  

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