'It won't be accepted' - McKenna on 1-1 draw at Crewe

Kieran Mckenna at Crewe Alexandra

Kieran Mckenna at Crewe Alexandra - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says he is 'crystal clear' about the areas his team needs to improve in next season following this afternoon's 1-1 draw at Crewe Alexandra.

It was a familiar tale of frustration for the Blues as they led through Conor Chaplin's finish inside the box just before half-time only to leave the door ajar and concede to Tom Lowery's fine 25-yard strike four minutes from time.

This is only the third time in 21 games that the rock-bottom Railwaymen have not been beaten. Ipswich, meanwhile, remain 11th in the League One table after winning just one of their last eight.

"I didn't think it was a great game overall, to be honest," said McKenna. "Obviously conditions (strong wind and a poor playing surface) made it difficult. I didn't think the level of the game was that high.

"But we put ourselves in a good position by going 1-0 up, have chances to go and kill the game, didn't do it and, as we've seen time and again, 1-0 is not enough in this league to be completely secure.

"It's a really poor goal to concede. Something we were doing really well a little while ago was clean sheets. We were defending well as a team to see games out whenever we needed to, but that's two games now - Wigan on Tuesday night and again today - where the goals we've conceded are not acceptable. It won't be accepted.

Crewe celebrate their equaliser against Ipswich

Crewe celebrate their equaliser against Ipswich - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

"We know we need to score more goals, that's clear. That's something that will be improved. But we also need to get back to the mindset of clean sheets, defending well and seeing the game out with more determination and resilience."

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"We couldn't have been in a better position really. We're 1-0 up, they're throwing bodies forwards and the onus is on us to go and kill the game off in that scenario. 

"It was the last few minutes of their home campaign and they were always going to put some pressure on our goal at the end of the game. We have to see that out."

He continued: "There are not that many different lessons at the moment. We seem to be getting the same lessons repeatedly. There are things we've spoken about, but sometimes there are only so many things you can speak about. There are things that you need to do.

"Every game is an education. That was my first time playing Crewe away from home. You learn about the different teams and things like that. 

"But I think it's already fixed in my mind about what needs to be improved in the summer.

"It's up to us as a club to be really crystal clear about the things we need to improve on next year.

"Mindset is part of it, but it's not the only thing. It's also coaching, recruitment... it's everything. There is a lot of work to be done on the pitch and there's a lot of work to be done off the pitch. 

"It's clear that there is a big step to be made for this group."

Young quartet Nick Hayes, Elkan Baggott, Cameron Humphreys and Tawanda Chirewa were all named on the bench, but none of them were introduced.

"That was a shame," said McKenna. "With the position we had at half-time we hoped we could get them on at some stage. Obviously they are trusted to play with a narrow lead, but having not got that second goal we always felt there was going to be a few balls coming into our box late on. It probably wasn't the right game for them to come on and flourish.

"They are two talented young players we believe in though and they've both got a big part to play going forward."

Town, who will finish somewhere between ninth and 11th, finish their season with the visit of 12th-place Charlton next Saturday. 

"There is a responsibility to the supporters to make sure that we finish well," said McKenna.

"Tuesday night (against Wigan), performance-wise, was a high. That was maybe as good as we've been for spells in that game. I think everyone who was there enjoyed the energy. We need to go and recreate a similar sort of performance next Saturday. If we get in that winning positiion again we have to do better."