Smith: We need to get back to being hard-to-beat

Ipswich Town need to get back to basics – especially on their travels.

That’s according to defensive duo Tommy Smith and Aaron Cresswell following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Wigan.

The Blues’ incredible recovery under Mick McCarthy’s management at the back end of last season was based around supreme organisation and hard-work.

Although a paltry 38 goals were scored during that 33 game spell, the promotion form of 53 points was achieved thanks largely to a record of 14 clean sheets.

Town have arguably played better football at the start of this campaign, but a failure to kill teams off during dominant spells has been compounded by just one shut-out in eight.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” said Smith after Sunday’s loss.

“We had enough chances to win two games, but didn’t take them and conceded two sloppy goals.

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“I suppose you can say a positive is that we’ve played all three relegated teams (Reading, QPR and Wigan) away and matched them, but we’ve got no points from those games and that needs to be addressed.

“We need to get back to being hard-to-beat, like we were at the end of last season – especially away from home.

“The mistakes need to be cut out.

“The travelling fans have been brilliant, they came in their numbers again for a Sunday match and we can’t thank them enough.”

Left-back Aaron Cresswell said: “As a defender the target has to be clean sheets first.

“Me, Bez (Christophe Berra), Tommy (Smith) and Chambo (Luke Chambers) have all scored.

“We’re after clean sheets first and foremost though. Goals for us have to be seen as a bonus.”

Bad fortune has certainly played its part in the nine goals conceded by Town in the league so far, with heavy deflections playing a part in strikes for Reading, Leeds and Birmingham.

Town have also come up against some keepers in top form too, Birmingham’s Darren Randolph and Wigan’s Scott Carson in particular.

Good chances have been missed and sloppy goals conceded as well though, with crosses not stopped, keeper Scott Loach letting Leeds’ winner under his body and fellow custodian Dean Gerken failing to deal with a long ball over the top at Wigan.

“We always work on shape throughout the week in training,” said Cresswell.

“I think Bezza (Berra) was our man-of-the-match against Middlesbrough and Yeovil, while Dean (Gerken) has been unfortunate with the goals he conceded before the weekend.

“Since the manager took over on November the first last year we’ve done exceptionally well. I think we were fifth in the form table under his management last season, so if we can replicate that over the 46 games this year then hopefully we’ll be there again.

“Our performance levels, whether we’ve picked up the win or not, have always been good.

“We’ve just got to keep that up and hopefully the points will come with it.”

Town host Brighton on Saturday before travelling to Derby next Tuesday.