Paul Cook's time in charge of Ipswich Town - in his own words
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Paul Cook has been sacked by Ipswich Town after nine eventful months. Here's a look back at some of his more memorable quotes.
After taking over a team that was seventh in the League One table following there successive wins, Cook said: “It’s been so refreshing for me coming in and there being such a vibrancy about the squad. The squad is in a great place. There’s not much badness around it. Our job now as staff is to make sure we fuel that fire.
“We’ve got to shoot for the stars. The target has to be automatic promotion, if that’s not possible we’ll be in the play-offs, and if unfortunately we didn’t get in the play-offs it won’t be for a want of trying.”
After his first game in charge ended in a 3-1 loss at Gillingham, Cook said: “Over two years we've probably seen a real big turnaround in players, probably too many coming in and out the club in too quick a time. While my job is to win games, and I accept I have to win games, it’s also to bring some sanity to the club.”
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Asked how long it would take for him to get the club going, Cook quipped: “Tell Marcus (Evans) eight windows, lads! Let’s tell Marcus it takes managers eight windows to achieve success and, if we can get him believing that then we’ve got a right good chance.
“In honesty, and I don’t mind telling you, for me it’s one window and a pre-season.”
After a 2-1 loss at Portsmouth, Cook said: “I think we make our own problems as a team at the minute to be truthful. For 42/43 minutes I think we were by far the better team, we were comfortably in the ascendancy and there was no threat.
“But goals change games in football and that one just before half-time done some real psychological damage. Mentally we are not as strong as we should be. You always feel at the minute that there might be something in us that can go wrong the wrong way.
“We concede a goal from a basic corner into the box. With the greatest respect to coaching and managing, it's not really that hard to defend is it? You've got to be aggressive and you've got to want to defend it. Unfortunately at the minute we're just in that little position as a group of people where everyone is waiting for someone else to do it.
“That won't be us going forward. We'll be making sure we have men and character in the team, something that's just a little bit lacking at the minute.”
After a 3-0 loss at AFC Wimbledon, Cook said: “What you guys will now get is a million rumours because I will be like Demolition Man.
“There’s going to be a lot of pain at the club over the next few weeks and I’m fully prepared for that pain.
“We’re all clamouring for something that works and sometimes the solution isn’t in the building, sometimes it has to come from outside the building.
“I don’t like the team and I haven’t got a clue what I’m getting out of them. That will end at the end of this season, 100%.
“Since they were relegated two years ago Ipswich fans have had false dawns, players playing well for a couple of games and inconsistencies. People flattering to deceive. I’m bored of it. Successful clubs sustain what they do.
“The downward spiral has to stop soon and an upward one has to begin. Once the pain goes the sunshine will start to come through.”
After 3-0 loss at Northampton, Cook said: “That's 12 games for me now and I'd have expected myself to do a lot better, irrespective of any player who is going on the pitch. So the first level of criticism comes to me and to my staff.”
After a 0-0 home draw with AFC Wimbledon, Cook said: "I just feel like we're not far off a Sunday League team that has won a cup to come and play at Portman Road.
“I'm the manager of this football team and I can't stand watching us play. That breaks my heart.
“You look at some of our players and it's like they don't like being footballers. Well they won't have to wait much longer for that to happen.”
On the eve of the new season, Cook was asked if Town could challenge for automatic promotion.
He replied: “One hundred per cent! Why not?
“Would I have Ipswich as favourites? No, I wouldn’t.
"If anyone thinks we can just hit the ground running and everything will be perfect, then they are just fools.”
After an opening day 2-2 draw with Morecambe, Cook said: "We don't know out best team yet. We're new. We've got to be given that time to grow.
"It's going to be a long season for our fans and we need everyone supporting. We did loads of things wrong today, but we also did quite a few things right. If we stay together we'll have a good season.”
After a 1-0 defeat to League Two side Newport County in the Carabao Cup, Cook said: “A little bit of patience is important. It really, really is. You can’t win a marathon after a mile. My experience in football has shown me there are situations where people think the world is about to end and in football it’s never about to end.
“For us to be successful this year and be promoted we are probably going to have to win 27/28/29 games. We’re going to have to get 85-90 points.
"If you keep getting one and one and one you’re crawling along very slowly aren’t you? Eventually we’ve got to start winning games to get to where we want to be.”
After a 2-1 loss at Cheltenham, Cook said: “We started the game really well, looked a really dangerous side, but then unfortunately we end up defending our 18-yard box for too many throw-ins.
“Big moments in games aren't going our way at the minute. We must make them go our way.
"We're not making excuses, but the reality is we need a little bit of time to gel and a little bit of time to get it all together. But we also should be doing better than what we are with the players we have available. So there's a little bit of both in there.”
At this stage, Town had made 16 summer signings. Three more would soon follow in Christian Walton, Sam Morsy and Bersant Celina.
“I just love signing players - I always have done!” laughed Cook, heading into the last few days of the window.
"Us managers always need more players. It's something I learned quite young from senior managers. Never let them know you're happy with what you've got.
"I'm absolutely delighted with our squad at Ipswich, I've got to tell you. I really, really am. If we can get one or two players in that make us better and help and improve the squad for the long run ahead then we'll do it. If we can't then there is total happiness from the staff and everyone in the building that we've got a squad equipped.”
After a two-goal lead was let slip against AFC Wimbledon, Cook said: “The reality is we’re still in pre-season mode.
“Our fans want to transmit positive energy and unfortunately if we don’t give them that energy to transmit, the energy will turn the opposite way - correctly so. We’re just learning to manage that at the minute.”
After a 5-2 home loss to Bolton, Cook said: “It’s probably one of the toughest days I’ve had in management.
“To watch your team, again, take the lead, start brightly, look good, get the crowd on our side, even equalise, then all of a sudden we just give goals away. That’s something we have to eradicate.
“I don’t think it’s fair to throw the record from last season in with this season, if I'm truthful, because you’re talking about two different squads.
"We’ve recruited very well, we are strong. Everyone looks at us as favourites. But we’re not playing like a team that will be promoted, we’re not playing like a team.
“At the minute we show individual qualities but not collective ones.
“I know the personnel in the building. I know the players we’ve got to come in. I know the characteristics of the Samy Morsy-type, for example. Everything that we lacked today will be there times 10 from him. There will be no performances like that when he’s in the team.”
After a 2-1 home loss to West Ham U21s in the Papa John's Trophy extended the winless start to eight games, Cook said: “Is it bad luck at the minute? I’m not so sure it is bad luck. The reality is we’re a soft touch. We’re a soft touch that just gives goals away.
“We take the lead, we look okay and then self harm. That’s something that’s got to stop and it’s got to stop quickly.
“We haven’t created any winning mentality or culture at the club as we speak. We need to do that quickly.
“I’ve just said to the lads in the dressing room ‘how long does the newness of us last?’ It does last. Whether you like it or not, it does last. It certainly can’t last that much longer though, that’s for sure. It doesn’t last forever.
"We’ve got to be better as a group of players. Talk of newness is wearing thin.”
Having won 1-0 at Lincoln, the Blues were preparing for the visit of fellow 'fallen giants' Sheffield Wednesday.
Cook said: “I just think we’re the biggest club in the league, we’re the best club in the league and I think we’ve got the best squad. But I would think that wouldn’t I?”
After thrashing Doncaster 6-0 at Portman Road, Cook said: "We've been fighting to become a team and tonight is probably the first time we looked a team.
"There was a spell at 2-0 where we under a bit of pressure and we were wobbling, 100%, but this team has got that resilience now. And we clearly carry that goal threat.
"Tonight it looked like we had players who enjoyed playing with each other. It looked like we're getting relationships built.”
After Town quickly came crashing back down to earth with a 2-1 loss at Accrington, Cook said: “It was an absolutely shocking performance. I didn’t see it coming.
“Accrington had so much more hunger and desire.
“Football’s a funny game. Just the minute you think you’re starting to do something well... it bites you.
“We’re screaming for consistency from players. We want to know what we’re going to get.”
After a two-goal lead is surrendered at Cambridge United, Cook said: "Since I've been managing Ipswich I've learnt one thing - you're never comfortable in the game. No matter what we're doing, you're not comfortable. We found a way to give them a leg up.
“As a manager I've never believed in shutting up shop. That's not my style. We travel as Ipswich Town and we should score again second half. Unfortunately for us we never.”
After a statement 4-0 win at Portsmouth, Cook said: “That was probably as complete a performance as we've had all season. When you go away from home you've got to have men all over the pitch. Tonight we had a lot of them.
“A lot gets written and a lot gets said. We've got a lot of new staff and players. How long does it take to change cultures at football clubs? There are some things you can't do in a short space of time.
"Unfortunately for all football managers now we get judged so quick nowadays and it's not right.
"I just stay level-headed and keep going.”
After another big away win, this time 4-1 at Wycombe, Cook said: “Let's just take one game at a time. We've been good at taking two steps back, haven't we? When you've managed as long as I have you try to stay on an even keel. Especially when we are learning as we are.
“We're on a rollercoaster ride. Our supporters have had disappointments this year, but we've also had a couple of really big highs. We've got to make sure we continue with the big highs.”
After a full-strength side played out a flat 1-1 home draw with League Two side Oldham in the FA Cup, Cook said: "We picked the same team that, four nights ago, left the field to a standing ovation from an ecstatic support. I've watched the same players today play like that.
"Sometimes as a manager you just look at the floor and shake your head. Our inconsistency at the minute is our consistency.
"We didn't respect the game today. We didn't show an appetite to win a football game.”
Following a frustrating 2-0 loss at Sunderland, Town are comprehensively beaten 2-0 by Rotherham on home soil.
Cook said: “I’m still searching to put that team on the pitch that I trust, the supporters trust and even the players probably themselves trust.
“Our supporters are right to be having a bit of a low at the minute.
“But if you think you can develop a culture, habits and trust over 19 league games then you’re a lot better than me. Sometimes, changing players’ habits is not as easy as people think.
“How long does it take to build a good football club? That’s a question sometimes probably for other people to answer.”
Town lead 2-0 at half-time against rock-bottom Crewe, but are left hanging on for a 2-1 win.
Cook said: "Was the performance good enough to make us all leave happy? No, of course it wasn't, but we've won.
“As I keep saying, we're 20 games in with a brand new squad. Me, more than anyone, understands the rules of management. But somewhere along the line you have to give players time and managers time to build.”
Town were 2-0 up at half-time against Arsenal U21s in the Papa John's Trophy. The game finished 2-2 and the Blues exited the competition following a penalty shootout.
"You'd be a fool to say you never saw that coming following and supporting us," said Cook.
"What have we really learned from quarter to eight onwards tonight that we didn't already know before the game? Not a lot.
"It's where we're at. The fans maybe thought we'd have one window and it would all be magic. It’s obvious that we're going to need more time.
“Personnel around the club might feel they are safe sometimes, but that's not how it works at big clubs.
“We're just making massive individual errors that keep costing us. Until we change the individuals then the individual errors won't change.”
After a 0-0 home draw with lowly League Two side Barrow in the FA Cup, Cook said: "The brutal truth is we're probably not as good as we might want to hope and think we are.
"We are a team that is genuinely trying to work hard to get better. Within that we have deficiencies and they are there for all to see."