‘Players deserve the sack, not the manager’ - says Ibrahima Sonko

IF anyone is to be handed their P45 at Ipswich Town it should be the under-performing players – not manager Paul Jewell.

That’s the brutally honest opinion of defender Ibrahima Sonko ahead of what could prove to be a defining moment for the Blues boss at in-form Barnsley this afternoon.

Town go into the tea-time televised game (5.20pm, Sky Sports 2) looking to halt a miserable run of seven straight defeats.

Should they produce a repeat of their limp display the last time they were up north – an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Burnley – then it could well spell the end for Jewell, less than a year after taking charge.

An impassioned display during last weekend’s 2-1 home loss to Watford convinced owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg to issue Jewell a resounding vote of confidence.

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And with a number of the apologetic squad having texted Jewell their messages of support the day after that game, Sonko says it should be the players bearing the brunt of supporters’ criticism.

“Unfortunately, if things don’t work out, the manager is the one that pays the price in these situations,” said the towering centre-back, one of Jewell’s 14 signings this season.

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“I don’t think that’s fair though because if there is someone to sack right now it is all the players, I don’t think the manager is to blame. We need to produce for him.”

He continued: “If you are going to sack him then you may as well sack the whole team because we are right behind him.

“He’s shown so much faith in us, not only by bringing many of us here, but even when we have been playing badly he has kept encouraging us.

“He could have said ‘I’ve had enough, you guys can’t win a game, I’m going to stick the kids in’, but he hasn’t done that, he believes that we will turn it around. It’s now time for us to repay that faith.”

He continued: “He (Jewell) has been perfect with us in my eyes. He knows the time to criticise and he knows the time to say ‘the game has gone, let’s move on’. He has actually remained very balanced, and regular and positive.

“The manager has made sure that the team is still happy and smiley. He comes in and is positive every morning and that means it is not a scary position for us because we continue believe we have to quality to get back to winning ways.”

– Follow @Stuart_Watson and @davegoods on Twitter for live match updates from this afternoon’s game.

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