MANAGER’S REACTION: Chris Hutchings slams his ‘well-paid’ senior players after shambolic display

IPSWICH Town caretaker boss Chris Hutchings slammed the club’s ‘well-paid’ players after their shambolic 3-0 home defeat to fellow-strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.

The atmosphere among the usually placid Portman Road faithful turned poisonous in the second half as they witnessed their rock-bottom side slump to a seventh defeat in nine matches.

Having fallen behind to a Ross Barkley goal just 45 seconds into the match, all last remaining scraps of confidence drained out of the team when the impressive Everton loanee added another just before the hour.

Wednesday – who came into the game without a victory in 10 – then passed the ball around the shell-shocked hosts to gleeful chants of ‘ole’ from a travelling army of more than 1,400 away supporters.

And when Michail Antonio rounded the keeper to add a third, there were angry chants of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ and ‘Clegg out’ among those who stayed to the bitter end.

Ten league home games without victory is the worst run of its kind in the club’s proud history, with the Blues now four points adrift at the foot of the Championship table. And if Bristol City get a result at home against Hull later this afternoon, that gap could soon become bigger.

Hutchings, who had promised passion and fight from his players in an emotionally-charged pre-match press conference, brought in homegrown youngsters Luke Hyam and Josh Carson from the cold for what was his first – and almost certainly – last match in charge following Paul Jewell’s exit.

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“One or two of the older players haven’t performed anywhere near to what they can do,” said the caretaker boss. “I’m pleased for Luke Hyam and Josh Carson though, I think they were the only bright spots. They had a little bit of effort and commitment there.

“I demanded effort and commitment and I didn’t think we got it from one or two older players. Confidence in sport is a massive thing and the early goal probably affected one or two. It was very disappointing.”

Ask he felt his players had let him and the fans down, he said: “I think so. I’ve said to them, they need to look at themselves in the mirror. I don’t pass it out of play, I don’t pass it to the opposition.

“They should be professional people, they should have that desire and drive to go out and perform for anybody. It’s their job, they get well-paid for it.

“They haven’t performed for a little while have they? That’s why we’re four points adrift at the bottom-of-the-table.

“I didn’t hear the chants, but that’s their opinion isn’t it? From what you’ve just said (about not being fit to wear the shirt) they are probably right about one or two.

“When you’re down you’ve got to show a bit of balls and come back. Some can, some can’t.”

After Paul Jewell left the club by mutual consent last Wednesday, Hutchings was put in caretaker charge as owner Marcus Evans and chief executive quickly began sifting through a short-list of 39 candidates.

And Hutchings knows that a new man could be in place before next Saturday’s trip to Birmingham City.

“We’ve got to try and move on, but it’s difficult to move on with all the speculation that’s happening. Whether it’s affected the players, who knows?

“It’s going to be very hard I think, no matter who takes over.

“If they can get new players in it will help, because I think that’s what’s needed if I’m being honest. Whether that happens remains to be seen doesn’t it?

“It’s a two-way thing. You never want to take over a team at the bottom of the table, but it will be an opportunity for someone.

“Will I be in charge for Saturday? I don’t know. I was just told to try and prepare for the game. We’re just taking things day-by-day. That’s what happens at football clubs. When a manager goes you just have to get on with things. That’s how it is.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for all the latest on the club’s managerial search, as well as comment and reaction to this latest limp defeat.