'We need to be more ruthless' - McKenna on Shrewsbury draw

Kieran McKenna at Shrewsbury.

Kieran McKenna at Shrewsbury. - Credit: PAGEPIX LTD

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna said his team need to start showing a ruthless edge following this afternoon's 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury Town.

The Blues led through James Norwood's early header and were in complete control of the game until Cameron Burgess' dismissal for a daft lunge on goalkeeper Marko Marosi in the 75th minute. Shaun Whalley's superb dipping long-range finish subsequently snatched Salop an unlikely point as Ipswich, in what has been a theme of the season, had only themselves to blame.

“I’m very disappointed - I’m disappointed at ourselves really," said McKenna, whose side remain ninth in the League One table and still eight points adrift of the play-off places with four games to go. 

“We got off to a really, really good start. It was a dominant performance for a large part of the game, completely controlled, created enough opportunities and enough situations to go and kill the game off, but we didn’t manage to do that. 

“I think the main frustration is that when we don’t do that, which we haven’t done enough, then when the game is 1-0 then stuff can happen, especially at this level away from home. 

Christian Walton is beaten by Shaun WhalleyÕs late effort at Shrewsbury.

Christian Walton is beaten by Shaun WhalleyÕs late effort at Shrewsbury. - Credit: PAGEPIX LTD

“We allowed the game to still be open at 75 minuets when really the game should have been dead. We have to look at ourselves. We have to make that big step and develop that mindset in the group to be ruthless. We have to make sure that when we are as dominant as we are today it’s case closed as we get to the late stages."

The Northern Irishman continued: “I thought at times in the second half we were playing very well but it was if things were fine and the second goal was just going to come to us. We need to show more determination to go and get the second goal, we need to show more concentration to go and get the second goal. 

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“If we had continued with the intensity we showed in the first six minutes then there’s no doubt we score more than one goal. We had two really good chances from doing the things we work on in training. 

“As much as we dominated and played well for most of the rest of the game, there wasn’t the same level of urgency and aggression as there was in the first few minutes to create the big chances and to create the goals. 

“Mindset and concentration is one part of it. The other part of it is the technical and tactical things that we need to keep working on."

Cameron Burgess flings himself into a challenge on the Shrewsbury keeper and earns himself a red car

Cameron Burgess flings himself into a challenge on the Shrewsbury keeper and earns himself a red card at Shrewsbury. - Credit: PAGEPIX LTD

Burgess, already on a booking for a clumsy foul on the turn, was shown his second yellow for a wild lunge on the goalkeeper when trying to charge down a back pass.

Asked if he had any complaints, McKenna replied: “I haven’t watched it back to be honest. But, at the time, no. He was on a yellow card and went in on the goalkeeper. The referee maybe could have got away with not sending him off. He was stretching for the ball, which sometimes you do when the goalkeeper is going to clear it because you want to block it, but that’s not my main concern at the moment. The focus needs to be internal in the group to look at what we can control better."

The Blues boss continued: "It’s very frustrating. You can probably link it to some other performances we’ve had. We’re doing so many good things. I think we’re on such a good path in so many ways as a team. But we can’t just put it down to bad luck or the fact they’ve scored an absolute worldy. We have to look at ourselves and what we can control."

With Ipswich having dropped so many points in similar circumstances this season, McKenna added: “I can’t speak about before I arrived, but it's certainly been the case since I’ve been here. I don’t want to exaggerate, but across the games I’ve had I don’t think there’s been many where the performance didn’t merit three points. Maybe a few, but not many. 

Conor Chaplin is denied by the keeper from point blank range at Shrewsbury.

Conor Chaplin is denied by the keeper from point blank range at Shrewsbury. - Credit: PAGEPIX LTD

“But it’s not about playing well enough to get the three points, it’s about getting the three points. If we’re saying there’s a general theme I think it’s fair to say we don’t kill off the game well enough at the moment. We’re not ruthless or aggressive enough to get more goals from what most aspects of our performances deserve. If you don’t do that then sometimes the game can be left open when it should be dead – like it was at Oxford and like it was today.  

“When you do that you’re going to get more sucker punches and more unlucky days than you probably deserve. Our focus has to be on not feeling sorry for ourselves and looking at what we can do better."