'The lads deserve credit after everything that's gone on' - Gill on Ipswich Town's 2-1 win at Accrington

Matt Gill was in charge at Accrington on Tuesday night

Ipswich Town caretaker boss Matt Gill, pictured in front of new manager Paul Cook. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town caretaker manager Matt Gill said he was proud of the players after they dug deep to secure a 2-1 win at Accrington Stanley in front of watching new boss Paul Cook.

Dion Charles put the hosts in front after four minutes, then James Norwood saw a penalty saved with 16 minutes on the clock.

Seamus Conneely was controversially dismissed for giving away that spot-kick, with Ipswich going on to score twice in the final minutes of the half as James Wilson and James Norwood netted following set-piece deliveries. 

Ipswich didn't make the most of their extra man after the break though and were left hanging on to secure all three points.

Three successive wins against top-eight sides has seen the Blues rise to seventh in the League One table.

"Obviously we're really, really pleased to get the three points," said Gill. "We probably made it a little bit harder than it should have been second half, but the lads deserve loads of credit. With the stuff that's been going on of late, the change of manager being announced yesterday (and widespread reports of a takeover being close), I think that the lads deserve loads of credit. Fair play to them.

"It's always a tough place to come here. They are always bang up for a real physical battle, but I think the lads coped with that well.

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"I think it was a little bit of a slow start, a little bit edgy and there were a few nerves going into the game. Obviously the new manager was here watching. So the lads were a little bit edgy first 15, we concede early, go 1-0 down on a cold Tuesday night, but we really stuck at it and stuck together, which is what they've done of late. The last few weeks they've really stuck together as a group and I'm really proud of them.

"Obviously we would like to have been a little bit better on the ball, second half especially, and been a little bit more controlling with our possession, but I think how the lads have handled the last 48 hours and beyond has been brilliant. I'm just really pleased for them.

"The players have shown they are really resilient.

"A few bits went against us. Okay, they had a man sent off, but we miss the penalty, we miss another couple of decent chances you expect to score, but we kept doing the right things and eventually played some good stuff. Obviously getting the goals just before half-time really helped.

"James can be really hard on himself so I'm really pleased he got his goal. We spoke about getting on deliveries in the front half of the goal and that's obviously what he did. Obviously it was a great delivery.

"The last few weeks we spoke a lot about set plays. We changed a few things on them. When you've got Andre (Dozzell), Judgey and Josh (Harrop) who all possess excellent deliveries, you have to make full use of those.

"Like I said, they really showed some bravery and courage to stick with it and get the result they deserved tonight."

Paul Lambert's departure from the club was announced late on Sunday night, with Cook's appointment only formally confirmed at lunchtime today.

Gill and Bryan Klug were in caretaker charge tonight, aided by keeper coach Jimmy Walker, with Cook shouting instructions from the stands on the opposite side of the pitch alongside new first team coach Gary Roberts.

"The players and the staff have been brilliant," said Gill. "I really thank them for their support. I've had some brilliant support from Bryan (Klug), Lee (O'Neill) and Jimmy Walker. And the lads have gone about their work really professionally. Everyone has been a part of the last couple of days. I enjoyed it. It's a newish experience, one I have done before for one game albeit a long time ago (at Tranmere). I'm just really pleased for the lads. 

"There has been a hell of a lot going on over the last few days, so I think the players deserve a hell of a lot of credit for how they performed. I'm really, really proud of them."

On Cook, Gill said: "I had an hour with the new manager in the hotel this afternoon and then he met the rest of the staff. He came in and met the players just before the game tonight. Obviously he's raring to go. It's over to him now.

"We're going to get back late tonight, the lads will be off tomorrow and then we'll get to work on Thursday."

Asked if Cook had been involved in picking the team, Gill said: "No. He gave the players some words of encouragement before the game and came in again at half-time and gave some more words of encouragement.

"He came to the hotel, met myself and Bryan initially and then ducked his head in before the game to meet the players briefly. I'm sure he's very much looking forward to getting started.

"He pretty much left the game to us. He left us to sort the game plan and the starting eleven. He dipped his head in at half-time to give some words of encouragement and made one or two tweaks, which is obviously his prerogative being the manager.

"He was just really pleased to keep that momentum going. It's three wins on the spin."

Gill, who confirmed he's been asked to stay on as a coach under Cook, was then asked about Lambert's exit.

"I'll be forever grateful to Paul for bringing me to this club," he said. "I've had two-and-a-bit years of really enjoying working with him. It's one of them ones. I've 100% concentrated on preparing the players for this game, so I haven't had a lot of time to think. I'm just really pleased for the players tonight.

"I spoke to him yesterday. Obviously we've got loads of respect for each other. He was just wishing me well for the game."

With Town now two points off the play-offs and nine adrift of the top two (with games in hand to come on many), Gill added: "The players deserve so much credit. A few weeks back they had to really dig in. We all had to have a look at ourselves and they really stuck together the players. They deserve the credit. They've been the ones who have performed in the last four or five games and out in some really good performances and got the wins they deserve.

"We've given ourselves a fighting chance of being where they want to be. The lads just need to keep doing what they've been doing the last few weeks and I'm sure they will."