'Every team has a knock-out punch' - McKenna wants Town to be more ruthless

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says his players are still getting used to the feeling of dominating games. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says his players are still getting used to the feeling of controlling games.

The Blues have had the lion's share of possession in virtually every match since the Northern Irishman took charge, but there have been several occasions where games have not been killed off during dominant spells.

With the draws against Cheltenham (0-0 at home), Morecambe (1-1 away), Oxford (1-1 away) and Shrewsbury (1-1 away) all prime examples, McKenna reflected: “We’ve had a lot of discussions about it. I think it’s a lot of different factors. 

“Last weekend I think Shrewsbury had one shot before the red card. They had one shot before they scored a volley from 30 yards. So I’m not going to make any big, rash judgements over that. 

“Looking back at the game, our performance for most of the game, in most areas, was very good. But we didn't manage to push for the second goal as much as we spoke about at half-time. 

“That’s a learning curve for the players. It’s technical and tactical things, but it’s also mental. I think us being as dominant as we are in games at the moment is probably a new experience for most of the players. 

“It’s about understanding that although it feels like the game is over and we are in complete control, at this level that’s very rarely the case. Every team has a knock out punch, it seems. Every team is able to score a goal from a moment that can seem insignificant. Teams often are waiting for that one moment. 

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“So long as the game is 1-0, no matter how comfortable or confident you feel, how dominant and controlled it feels, it can only take one long ball, a long throw, a set-piece or a speculative shot and the game is different. 

“We’ve had a lot of discussions about that this week. I think the players have taken some of the messages on board. We need to carry those memories and those lessons into next season so that it doesn't happen again when we next find ourselves in that situation."

Town take on third-place Rotherham, at the New York Stadium, in a televised clash tomorrow lunchtime (Sky Sports, 12.30pm). They then host table-toppers Wigan, at Portman Road, on Tuesday night (7.45pm).