Cook uses Portsmouth example in plea for patience
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller.com
Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says his experience of promotion at Portsmouth is proof that it's always a marathon, not a sprint.
Expectations are high at Portman Road following a takeover and 14 new signings through the door, but the Blues have started the campaign needing a last-gasp goal to salvage a 2-2 home draw with newly-promoted Morecambe and a 1-0 home defeat to League Two side Newport County in the Carabao Cup.
Cook - who guided Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan to league titles - is calling upon supporters to show a little patience with the project.
“I always look back to my time at Portsmouth," he said, speaking ahead of tomorrow's game at Burton Albion.
“We drew at home to Carlisle, (lost in the Carabao Cup at Coventry), we travelled to Crewe and drew 0-0 and then we lost on the Tuesday night 2-0 at Morecambe. We were second/third from bottom and everyone thought the world had ended.
“Yet at the end of the season we won the league.
“If we win at Burton tomorrow does that mean we’re going up? If we lose tomorrow is it not going to be good enough?
- 1 Daylight dogging makes beauty spot 'no-go area'
- 2 Three East Anglian curry houses make final of English Curry Awards
- 3 'It was horrific': Grandmother stuck abroad after 40ft castle fall
- 4 'We have the quality to go on and win this league' - Burns calls upon fans to keep the faith
- 5 Five star cat hotel opens near Bury St Edmunds
- 6 Towering views for royal on visit to see completed £4m Suffolk project
- 7 Woman who was found with maggots living in hand evicted from care home
- 8 'Keep the faith' - Town fans on poor start and what needs to change
- 9 From favourites to outsiders - odds on Town winning League One drift widely
- 10 Mike Bacon: Oh, what have we done to deserve this?
“I’m very much a manager who believes in getting it right on the training ground. Repetition of work, repetition of shape and the results take care of themselves. That’s the path I’ll follow."
Sone Aluko and Louie Barry arrived late on the day before the season-opener, with Kyle Edwards and Hayden Coulson signing the day before Tuesday night's match. Cook still wants to add more players at centre-back and in central midfield.
“It’s been difficult," said the Blues boss. "You’re talking about lads moving into hotels, trying to find accommodation, looking after their families.
“A lot of our first team lads haven’t even trained together yet.
“The lads who played Tuesday had a down day on Wednesday, while the other lads were training hard. At the minute we’re all like passing ships in the night!
“Probably the coach journey up today will be the first time lads will chat amongst each other in a relaxed environment.
“From our supporters’ point of view a little bit of patience is important. It really, really is. These lads have all bought into the project that myself, Mark (Ashton) and the owners have set out. We all want the end goal, but you can’t win a marathon after a mile. We’ve got to make sure that we prepare for the journey properly.
“My experience in football has shown me there are situations where people think the world is about to end and in football it’s never about to end.
He continued: “If I watch the games as an Ipswich fan, I can see that we’ve drawn one and lost one and probably should have won both if the truth be known.
“That’s football. We’ve got to keep working on getting to the level of performance which will see us consistently knocking on the door and hopefully go through that door to win games.
“One of the things I really don’t like is how every game and result gets scrutinised. And the manager gets scrutinised.
“If we go back in time there have been a lot of successful managers who haven’t started particularly well. Jurgen Klopp didn’t win a trophy at Liverpool for four years. Sir Alex Ferguson was going to get the sack.
“If we keep judging managers with a short-term view, all we’re going to do is keep sacking managers. I just keep working hard on the training ground and the results and performances will take care of themselves.
“The reality is we’re very much work in progress and every day we’re trying to get better for tomorrow.
“Some of my answers you’ll get bored with. That’s why I try and send the other coaches out (to speak to the media).
“I don’t get embroiled in your side of the game where one minute it’s a high and one minute it’s a low."
After tomorrow's game at Burton, Town have a midweek trip to Cheltenham and then host MK Dons followed by AFC Wimbledon.
“For us to be successful this year and be promoted we are probably going to have to win 27/28/29 games," said Cook. "We’re going to have to get 85-90 points.
"If you keep getting one and one and one you’re crawling along very slowly aren’t you? Eventually we’ve got to start winning games to get to where we want to be. But we’ve played one league game! One!
“We’ve got so many new lads in the building, so many different permutations of players. What is our best team? We don’t know. It’s about partnerships being allowed to train together, play together and develop.
“It’s about the crowd being behind the team and the lads feeling that noise in the stadium that will carry us home.
“At the minute we’re taking the smallest baby steps towards that. Hopefully our steps can get bigger soon.
“Kyle Edwards, Hayden Coulson, (George) Edmundson, Conor Chaplin... We’ve got a really exciting group of players coming together. The quicker they can train together, the quicker they can get to know each other, both on and off the pitch, the reality is that’s when we’ll start putting our best foot forward.
Burton finished last season really strongly under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to finish 16th. The Brewers started their season with a 1-0 win at Shrewsbury last weekend and then lost on penalties to Oxford United in the Carabao Cup after a 1-1 home draw.
“I watched Jimmy’s team on Wednesday night," said Cook. "They’re a very good side, very disciplined, very well-organised and they’ve got a lot of good players.
“He’s good manager, he’s a very good guy. I got to know him playing against his teams over the years. Obviously he had a fantastic football career.
“Burton are a very, very strong team. It’s was a good game on Wednesday night against Oxford. Burton have got a lot of threats, they play a certain style and they’re effective at it. So we’ve got a very difficult game tomorrow at the Pirelli Stadium.
“We’re training at St George’s Park today, which will be brilliant. I’ve got to say our preparations for every game has been brilliant. The thoroughness of the performance department has been good. Every player now is getting programmes and data about how they can physically get better. In a period of time that will lead to a better level of performance. If you’re fit and you’re mentally tuned in and tactically tuned in then you’ve got a good chance of being a good footballer.
"Tonight it will be meal, bed, sleep! Football is about repetition. I explain to the players that it’s boring sometimes trying to be good. You’ve got to sacrifice. And our sacrifices are very, very small. Preparations and details in football are very, very important. You’ve got to get everything right."