Ipswich Town players need to take responsibility, says former boss George Burley

Former Ipswich Town manager George Burley

Former Ipswich Town manager George Burley - Credit: PA

Former Ipswich Town boss George Burley says it’s the club’s players who should be taking responsibility after the team was booed off the field following Saturday’s insipid 1-0 home defeat to relegation-battling Rotherham.

Manager Mick McCarthy admitted afterwards that he had to take ‘a big part’ of the blame and, having left all of his creative players on the bench, conceded he had got his team selection wrong.

Burley, however, saw it differently. He said: “There’s only so much you can do as a manager. This has got to come from the players. They have to take responsibilty.

“They are capable of being braver on the ball and they have done it in the past. They need to get back to that and be mentally stronger.

“As a player you’ve got to believe in yourself and have that mental capacity to bring the ball down and play. John Wark always had that belief in himself to control the ball under pressure. At home the players need to do that a lot better.”

Burley made 500 appearances for Town as an attack-minded right-back during the halcyon days of the late 70s and early 80s. He became the club’s manager in 1994 and an offensive brand of football was the driving force behind five exciting years which contained three play-off semi-final defeats, a play-off final victory at Wembley and a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League.

McCarthy has once again got Town competing regularly at the sharp end of the second-tier table, but his functional tactics continue to split opinion.

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“No-one should be making any judgements until the end of the season,” said Burley.

“A couple of wins can quickly put us back in the play-off places. And if you look at the fixtures they are not bad.

“We just need to have a bit more strength of character in the home games against the teams nearer the bottom. We’ve got MK Dons, Charlton and Fulham to come to Portman Road still and the players will need to show a bit more courage and composure on the ball.

“Bartosz (Bialkowski) has been in unbelievable form, organisationally they are spot on, I think the team looks pretty solid, but they just need to have a wee bit more belief at home.”

With talented forward David McGoldrick making his long-awaited return from injury in an Under-21s game at Portman Road last night, Burley added: “I have always been a big fan of David McGoldrick’s. I brought him through at Southampton aged 17 and to have him available again will be a big boost. But this is not just about one player. As a team, we need to say ‘let’s do a bit more on the ball’.”