MANAGER’S REACTION: Paul Jewell embarrassed to lead his side on ‘lap of appreciation’

IPSWICH Town manager Paul Jewell admits he felt embarrassed to lead his side of a ‘lap of appreciation’ after the Blues’ home campaign finished with a limp 3-0 defeat to Millwall.

The counter-attacking Lions scored three of their four shots on target to seal their fifth straight victory, with Grant Leadbitter seeing a penalty saved at 2-0 by in-form veteran keeper Maik Taylor.

Town were well below par though, with Jewell calling the performance ‘laborious’ and ‘milky’.

Just a few hundred out of a crowd of 18,947 stayed behind at the end as the sheepish players came out to the centre circle, applauded all four stands and then quickly headed back down the tunnel.

“It was difficult to go back out there at the end, but we owed it to the supporters who stayed to show our appreciation,” said Jewell. “It’s embarrassing a little bit, but some young kids had stayed and we owed it to them to go back out there.

“We would have liked it to have been on a happier note, but you’ve got to bite the bullet haven’t you?”

Reflecting on the game, Jewell said: “It was really disappointing. We had lots of the ball but didn’t do a lot with it. Prior to this we’d lost just three games in 17, but today we were slow and lethargic. It was just a bit laborious, a bit laboured, a bit milky – all the things we were when we were struggling reared their head again today.

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“Let’s keep things in perspective though, we’ve done okay in the second half of the season. It’s only four defeats in 18, we’ve got 30 points out of whatever it is, but we accept that leaving the home supporters with a performance like that was unacceptable.”

He added: “I’ve not seen anything I didn’t know. We are where we are, not because we’ve been unlucky, but because we haven’t been good enough.

“One time we were looking at a relegation fight, we got over that, but today we’ve been caught on a sucker punch.

“They were bad goals we gave away, but the defence over the last 16/17 games has been pretty tight. Today, all over as a unit we were second best.”

The Blues boss added: “It’s horrible getting beat like that at home, but we can’t go away from here thinking it’s the end of the world. We didn’t play well, we’ve been punished by a team that’s come and done a job on us, but since January we’ve played really well and showed top six form.

“Today we’ve been beaten 3-0 – that’s the Championship for you. I’m not happy about it, but I already knew the reason we’re 15th place in the league with 58 points is because we haven’t been good enough in too many games.

“The second half of the season has been acceptable, but we’re paying a price for the first half.”

Asked if he felt some his players were already in holiday mode, Jewell concluded: “It’s easy saying that now, but no-one was saying that on Tuesday night (following an impressive display against Birmingham).

“The players haven’t taken their foot off the peddle in training at all. That performance today was very unlike Ipswich since the turn of the year.

“We know people have gone home disappointed today, but that was a bit of a one-off in terms of the second half of the season. That’s the first time of late that we’ve been beaten where I thought we deserved to be beaten.”