Town skipper Sam Morsy on Kieran McKenna's 'eye opening' methods and where it went wrong for Paul Cook

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna gives instructions to skipper Sam Morsy during a break in play.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna gives instructions to skipper Sam Morsy during last weekend's 1-0 home win against Plymouth. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town captain Sam Morsy has spoken to 'The Totally Football League Show'. Here's what he had to say about where it went wrong for Paul Cook, taking his form to new heights under Kieran McKenna and a late play-off push. 

Bersant Celina congratulates Sam Morsy after he had scored Towns goal.

Bersant Celina congratulates Sam Morsy after he scored Ipswich Town's winner against Plymouth. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

ON SATURDAY'S 1-0 HOME WIN AGAINST PLYMOUTH...

“It was a really good win. It was a win we definitely needed because of what had happened the previous week at Oxford (conceding a 95th minute equaliser). 

“I thought we were really good and probably should have won by more. Nevertheless, it’s a good three points and exactly what we needed. 

Sam Morsy celebrates after scoring against Plymouth.

Ipswich Town skipper Sam Morsy scored against Fleetwood and Plymouth in March. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

ON HIM SCORING TWICE IN MARCH...

“It’s been down to my position really. I’ve been playing a little bit more advanced. The two goals I have scored have been what we’ve worked on in training, which is always pleasing. That’s actually probably more pleasing than a 30-yarder to be honest! When those patterns of play you have been working on come to fruition it’s great to see. 

“Last season I played in a similar position for Middlesbrough and I started off my career as a box-to-box midfielder. There’s a lot of detail which goes into it – where to run, when to run. I’m really enjoying it."

Sam Morsy wheels away after scoring the only goal of the game.

Sam Morsy wheels away after scoring the only goal of the game against Plymouth. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

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ON TOWN'S PLAY-OFF PUSH...


Ipswich, unbeaten in 11, find themselves five points adrift of the League One play-off places. A near flawless six-game finish is going to be required to secure a top-six spot given that all rivals' have at least one game in hand.

“That’s the goal - that’s what we are going to try and do," said Morsy. 

"We are ninth at the minute. If we win the next two (Cambridge United at home and Shrewsbury away) we will probably be eighth. We have just got to keep going. 


“Realistically, if we are going to sneak in then it’s going to be on the last day. We are prepared for that. 

“The challenge is to try and win six on the bounce. It’s a huge challenge, but we are unbeaten in 11 now and our confidence is sky high. 

“So yeah, why not? In every single league somebody always comes in the back door. Why can’t it be us this season? 

“Plymouth put six wins in a row together before they played us last weekend and that has guaranteed them a play-off spot. That shows it is possible. That’s what we are aiming for."

Town manager Paul Cook heads back to the dressing rooms at half time.

Paul Cook was sacked by Ipswich Town following just nine months in charge. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

ON PAUL COOK... 

Morsy played under Paul Cook at both Chesterfield and Wigan before being reunited with him at Portman Road on August transfer deadline day last year. Cook was sacked three months later following a 0-0 hom draw with struggling League Two side Barrow in the FA Cup. The LIverpudlian left Town sitting 11th in League One. His record, over nine months, read: P44 W13 D17 L14.

Asked why it didn't work out for Cook at Portman Road, Morsy said: “It’s a tough one really. “You look at his track record and think he would have been the ideal candidate to succeed here.  

“If he had kept hold of that fantastic Wigan team then I am sure they would have been challenging for the play-offs in the Championship. So it was a surprise he didn’t get a decent Championship move after that. 

“Why didn’t it work for him here? I don’t know. It’s a hard one.  

Wigan players celebrate with Wigan's manager, Paul Cook after Wigan win the sky Bet League One leagu

Sam Morsy, right, helps give manager Paul Cook the bumps as Wigan celebrate winning the League One title in 2018. - Credit: PA

“All Paul Cook has known in his career is success. Everywhere he’d been – Chesterfield, Portsmouth, Wigan – he'd had promotions doing things his way. 

“There was a complete overhaul of the squad here and you can’t underestimate that that takes time. It probably needed doing, but it does take time for sure. 

“It was sad to see him go. I have been with him for a number of years, I have had great success with him. The sole reason I came to Ipswich was because of him. I genuinely believed he would have great success here. 

“I guess that’s football isn’t it? Nothing’s guaranteed.  

“We made a really slow start to the season and when that happens you are always playing catch-up. That leaves you needing an exceptional run of form to get close. We had a consistent run, but we couldn’t get an exceptional run. 

“I was really sad, personally, to see him go. But obviously it’s nice to see him back in football again (at promotion-chasing National League side Chesterfield)."

A happy Kieran McKenna and Sam Morsy at Fleetwood.

A happy Kieran McKenna and Sam Morsy at Fleetwood. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

ON KIERAN MCKENNA... 

After Cook was sacked, Town appointed 35-year-old Manchester United assistant manager Kieran McKenna as the club's new boss. Under the Northern Irishman, the Blues have an impressive record of P17 W10 D5 L2 F21 A6.

“He’s been brilliant from day one," said Morsy. "His meetings, his level of detail, the structure... it’s been really eye-opening for me and the players. 

“People may say he’s an inexperienced manager, but he’s been preparing for this role for the last 10 to 13 years, or whatever it is, since he started coaching. He’s definitely not inexperienced. You can see he’s learnt from the best. 

“He’s got everyone firing. Everyone’s really enjoying it. Everyone knows their roles. Everyone is improving. 

“For me personally, he’s been great. It’s the same for a lot of the lads. 

“When you get older it’s a common theme that players become more closed off, but everyone has been really open and taken on the ideas that have been presented really well. He’s definitely opened my eyes to certain things. I definitely see things differently now. He’s taught me a lot that I didn’t know before. There’s been lots of learning days. 

“I think I can speak for a lot of the lads when I say they have found it the same."

Morsy added: “He’s not committed to ‘this is the formation, this is what we are going to do every game’. The tactics are very fluid. It’s always about putting different players in different areas to expose the other team. 

“But the philosophy stays the same in terms of keeping the ball, dominating the ball, but also going up the pitch fast and creating a lot of chances. He’s definitely not a manager who wants possession for the sake of it. He wants to move through the pitch fast."

ON RESURGENT PLAYERS WOOLFENDEN, JACKSON AND NORWOOD...

“Team spirit has been really good, surprisingly good, because sometimes there can be problems having so many good players not playing. 

“Kayden Jackson is a great example of staying a really good professional. For long parts of the season he didn’t get a sniff, but he carried himself really well, got on with his work and kept his head down. 

“Then the new manager came in, he got his opportunity and did really well.   

“He’s out of contract in the summer and I’m led to believe he’s going to sign a new deal here, which is great for him. 

“Woolfy (Luke Woolfenden) is another one. He wasn’t playing much in the first half of the season, but he’s come into the team under the new manager and looked like the best centre-half you’ll see.  

Kayden Jackson celebrates with skipper Sam Morsy.

Sam Morsy (left) believes Kayden Jackson will sign a new contract with Ipswich Town. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“All the lads have conducted themselves really well. Even James Norwood, who probably has got an unfair reputation really. When he wasn’t playing he was really good. Even when he was with the Under-23s he wasn’t negative. 

“Like Woolfy and Kayden, he’s another one who’s taken his chance once he got back in the team. It just shows how football can change fast. 

“Their behaviour when they were out the team meant that everyone has got right behind them when they’ve got back in it. 

“At other clubs I’ve seen lads hold a grudge and have resentment, but I can honestly say the lads here have been really easy to work with."

Sam Morsy wheels away after putting Ipswich in front at Fleetwood Town.

Sam Morsy wheels away after putting Ipswich in front at Fleetwood Town. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd