McKenna wants to see Town hit their high standards at Shrewsbury
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Manager Kieran McKenna wants his Ipswich Town side to return to their recent high standards at Shrewsbury tomorrow.
Town’s 11-game unbeaten run was ended at Portman Road last Saturday, as Cambridge United inflicted a hammer blow to the Blues’ play-off hopes from which they are almost certainly not able to recover.
The performance was a real drop from the high standards which McKenna’s team have set themselves during the manager’s reign, with the Town boss hoping for a reaction at Shrewsbury this weekend.
“I thought we were off it in all aspects in the first half,” McKenna said of the Cambridge loss. “Our intensity and aggression off the ball was below-par and I don’t think we had enough pace and directness to our passing and our running.
“But still, over the course of the game, we had the better chances to win it. We should have got something out of it, but the performance wasn’t at the level we’ve come to expect and the level that we’ve set for ourselves.
“There was disappointment after the game and there was disappointment in the early part of the week, but everyone has now very much turned their heads to the next game.
“This was the first off day for us in quite a considerable period of time. That can happen. Everyone is now very much looking forward to the next game and wanting to get back to the performance levels that we have been setting.”
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Though Shrewsbury sit 16th in the table, Town face a tough task this weekend against a side who have only conceded 10 goals in their last 18 league matches.
“They’ve been excellent,” McKenna said of Town’s weekend opponents. “I’ve watched a lot of their games over the last two months and I’ve been really impressed - especially their defensive organisation.
"Since Christmas they are right up there in terms of clean sheets and the lack of chances that teams have had against them.
“They’ve been very competitive against some of the best teams in the league. Last weekend, against MK (2-0 loss), was probably the first game they’ve had in quite a while where they were probably outplayed a bit. Other than that, every game I’ve seen them play recently they’ve been really strong, really competitive, really well-organised and have deservedly got some good results.
“They’ve got good defensive principles,” he continued. “They defend compact, they defend the middle of the pitch really well, their back line is good, they defend the penalty box well and they don’t leave a lot of holes.
“Credit to them, there’s obviously some good work going on at their training pitch. It’s going to be a big challenge to break them down on their home pitch.”
Town begin the day eight points back from sixth place, with only 15 to play for.