Taylor hails Town's defensive work after 1-0 win at Burton
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Ipswich Town assistant boss Stuart Taylor hailed the team's defensive qualities following this afternoon's hard-fought 1-0 win at rock-bottom Burton Albion.
Mark McGuinness headed home a 73rd minute winner to seal a game of very few chances, victory lifting Paul Lambert's men up to seventh in the League One table ahead of home games against Peterborough and Sunderland.
“In short I thought it was a really good, solid, professional performance," said Taylor.
“It was never going to be a pretty game because of who we were playing against and also the condition of the pitch. It’s good to get the win because now I can mention things like that!
“It would have been easy last week (after a 3-2 home loss to Swindon) to come out and say we hadn’t played in 25 days and that we were rusty, but we don’t want to go down that route of making excuses.
“There were a lot of facts behind the first half last week, but it wasn't acceptable. We took it on the chin and moved on.
“We had to rectify what happened last week. We asked them to respond and they responded well.
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“The lads applied themselves really well all week in training and took that into the game.
“As much as everybody knows we want to get the ball down and pass, you also have to do the ugly side of the game.
“We pressed well, kept our shape, were aggressive in attacking the first and second ball, matched runners and did the dirty side of the game. It was always going to be a horrible game and we handled it well."
Asked how important it was that Town got back to winning ways, at the end of a week where calls for Lambert to be sacked intensified, Taylor said: "When you’re at a club like Ipswich or Sunderland, you always need to win. That’s just the pressure that comes with being at a club like this.
“It's unrealistic to expect to win every game, but today is certainly a big result because we wanted to fix last weekend."
Town's winner was their first shot on target all game. Their only other real chances of note where when substitute Aaron Drinan headed against the bar (at 0-0) and saw another glancing header well saved.
Asked if a lack of chances created was a concern, Taylor said: “Not at all. It was never going to be a game where we played fluent football and cut them open. They are a team fighting at the bottom of the table and they were always going to make it ugly and difficult for us with a 4-5-1.
“It was always going to be difficult to create a bundle of chances. First half we could have had better quality crosses into the box and maybe had some better runs across the man to the near post.
“But the biggest challenge today was always going to be what we did out of possession. We had to win that fight and then show that composure.
“Coming away from home, to a team like Burton, and getting a` clean sheet and 1-0 win is fantastic. Everybody can see that teams are dropping points all over the place and the league is very, very close. I think it’s going to be like that, a real rollercoaster, for as long as it plays out for.
“I like to think I’m quite attack-minded, but you always want a clean sheet. Sometimes a 1-0 is better than a 5-0 because you’re seeing out the game and showing those defensive qualities."
Lambert made six changes to the team that started the defeat to Swindon, with Gwion Edwards, Teddy Bishop, Flynn Downes and James Norwood all making their first starts off the back of injuries.
Asked if the likes of Luke Woolfenden and Dai Cornell had been dropped due to their standards slipping, Taylor replied: “I don't think it's anything like that. The manager just made the call.
“I didn't want to single anyone out, but Toto (Nsiala) was solid and that tackle he made in the box was second to none. Luke Chambers’ block at the end of the first half was fantastic too.
“I thought Toto was our standout player along with Mark McGuinness. They were a tower of strength against a striker with a real presence.
“There was a lot of good defensive play today and a lot of good out of possession stuff."
On the risk factor of throwing so many players straight into the team after injuries, Taylor said: “It wasn’t too big a call because we know their qualities and the fitness levels they have.
“I thought they did excellent. Look at how long Flynn has been out for. But we know how athletic and fit he is. It sounds strange to say, but we never doubted he would play 90 minutes.
“Bish was still going strong when we took him off, that was just a tactical change. Gwion and Nors did great too.
“We’ve had near enough full numbers in training this week. It’s a case of keeping them all fit now.
“We’re not even at the halfway point of the season yet. We’re going to have to play half the season in three months, which is incredible, but it is what it is."
Explaining why he was doing post-match press duties, Taylor said: "Paul is still struggling (having suffered with Covid-19). He was sitting in the dugout most of the game. He got up twice, I think, which isn’t like him obviously. Normally he is full of beans and energy."