Jewell analyses drop in form

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell says his side’s sudden loss of form is down to a drop in concentration and an increase in hesitancy.

The Blues looked rock-solid at the back and were creating goalscoring chances galore during a five-game run which included victories over Coventry, West Ham and Brighton, as well as impressive draws at Middlesbrough and Cardiff.

But despite playing with largely the same side and system, they have now performed poorly for three matches in succession – scraping an unconvincing 1-0 win over Portsmouth before losing to Crystal Palace (1-0 at home) and Millwall (4-1 away).

“In the last three games we haven’t been anywhere near our best,” admitted Jewell. “Against Portsmouth we were a little bit fortunate to grind out a result, Palace could maybe have been a draw, but certainly Saturday wasn’t very good at all.

“We gave away poor goals. The first was one long punt followed by a throw-in; we should have dealt with it better – if you don’t stop the cross you’ve got to defend it better.

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“The second we were too hesitant again. Sonko should have gone to the ball but he didn’t and suddenly we’re chasing the game.

“We’ve got talented players, we’ve got experienced players, but at times we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

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“It’s a concentration thing when we’ve got the ball, really. When we are attacking we look vulnerable because one long ball or quick counter-attack is catching us out. “In the games where we were steam-rolling teams we were always contesting the ball in the right areas, every time it came out of their box it was always one of our players picking the ball back up.”

He continued: “It’s not just the defence. I’ve got the figures here in front of me, we passed the ball 120 times more than Millwall but we did that in front of them whereas what we did in that recent good little run was pass incisively.

“Now we not passing in areas to hurt the opposition, but that’s partly because they’ve done their homework a little bit more on us.

“Teams are sitting back against us now. They’ve seen before that when teams have come at us we’ve passed the ball through them. Now teams have worked out that we’re not the quickest team in the world and that when there are holes we do get a little bit exposed.

“That said, no-one mentioned our lack of pace against Middlesbrough, West Ham and Cardiff because we were in the right areas. When we were creating chances for fun it was a joy to watch.

“We’ve got to be careful here, it’s not all bad. We’re still only four points off the play-offs. It’s a very tight league.”

He added: “Things are not going to happen overnight, there are going to be peaks and troughs.

“At the moment we’re getting patches in games where for 10 or 15 minutes we look really good, then we’ll have periods where we switch off. We need to get to a level where when we are not at our best we’re still OK.”

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