'It could do us the world of good... it brings everyone down to earth with a little bit of a bump' - Cook on Millwall loss

Town manager Paul Cook looks on.

Town manager Paul Cook looks on. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook believes today’s pre-season loss to Millwall could do his side ‘the world of good’ as the Blues head into League One action. 

The Blues were well-beaten by the Championship side as Benik Afobe (twice) and Jed Wallace struck in a 3-0 victory, in what was Cook’s side’s final warm-up game before the start of the new season. 

Cook admitted his side weren’t given the chance to play by their well-drilled visitors but admitted a defeat may serve as a timely reminder that his side are a work in progress during what has been the most busy of summers in the transfer market. 

“It was just a tough day for us,” he said. 

“I thought in the first 15 or 20 minutes at the start, we struggled to get into the game a bit and I thought Millwall looked a really good side who dominated the ball and worked us. 

“But I thought we grew into the half and their first goal probably came during our best spell in the game. Goals change confidence levels and we’re still working hard as a working in progress, which is exactly what we are. 

Tempers flare in the first half.

Tempers flare in the first half. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

“Millwall are a very, very strong side and Gary (Rowett) will be delighted with the way they played. 

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“If anyone doesn’t think this is a work in progress then they are very foolish. We’ve signed some good players and the reality is people can think you’ve won the league – but football’s not like that. 

“We have so much hard work to do to integrate new players and how long that takes will be the big thing. 

“Today was a tough day but you respect the opposition when you have games like this. It’s easy to say we didn’t play well but we weren’t allowed to play well by a very strong Championship team. We’ll lick our wounds.” 

Asked how he would sum up pre-season as a whole, Cook said: “I’ve really enjoyed it. 

Wes Burns first half effort hits the post.

Wes Burns first half effort hits the post. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

“When you’re doing as much work as ourselves it takes a lot. I don’t think Millwall have signed a player, I might be wrong, but you can see they are a group of lads who have been together for a good period of time. That’s what we’re trying to be. 

“Over a period of three or four pre-season games, with new lads arriving daily, you’re not going to get to those levels. But we’ll stay patient, stay calm and we’ll come back better than today.” 

Cook continued: “It will be rocking here next week, absolutely rocking. 

“I think today’s result could do us the world of good going forward because it just brings everyone down to earth with a little bit of a bump.  

“It doesn’t bring me back down to earth because it’s exactly what I know – we are a work in progress who will strive to get better. 

“I’ve been around football long enough to know. I’ve seen good pre-seasons turn into horrific starts and bad ones bring good starts. 

“It’s always an indicator of what’s going on but we’ve played some top level opposition now. When you’re new, playing a team as solid as Millwall who can replace players like (Jed) Wallace and (Benik) Afobe with the likes of (Matt) Smith and (Tom) Bradshaw is tough.  

“We respect the game. We’re disappointed with the result but we go on.” 

Joe Pigott with a first half effort saved by Millwall keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Joe Pigott with a first half effort saved by Millwall keeper Bartosz Bialkowski. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Asked if he would have liked to have had more games before the start of the competitive football, given the amount of new arrivals, Cook said: “Definitely, but we don’t get it. 

“We’ve got lads not playing today who will probably start the season, I don’t know. We all know how quickly people expect things but it’s a 46-game race and, when you’ve played them, the table will tell you no lies. 

“You can over-analyse pre-season but we can see, with young Cameron Humphreys and Matt Ward coming on, the depth in the squad isn’t there. We’re still working on that daily. 

“There’s a lot of areas to work on, like where we are going to need to pass and play and when to go long, and we’ve played with two up top because we haven’t really had a defined No.10. There’s so much work to do.” 

Cook confirmed new signing George Edmundson and playmaker Scott Fraser missed the game with injuries, with Jon Nolan also still recovering from a calf problem: “Just little injuries which kept them out, which is part and parcel of the game,” he said. 

The Town boss also reiterated the desire to bring in more players this summer, with at least three new recruits still being sought: “We still need to bring more players in and we still have deficiencies in the team which are quite clear to see and that’s something myself and Mark (Ashton, CEO) will look to address over the next week or two,” he said. 

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