Tony Mowbray words are encouraging and worrying in equal measure for Ipswich Town

TONY Mowbray will always have a place in his heart for Ipswich Town.

It was therefore no surprise that the ex-Blues skipper and 2000 play-off hero had plenty of kind words of encouragement for his struggling former employers on Saturday.

“You’ll be fine,” replied the man they call Mogga, when asked for an honest Ipswich prognosis after his Boro side had consigned them to the Championship relegation zone with a hard-fought 2-0 victory.

“I was there for nine years and the culture, philosophy and expectation at that club is that they take care of the ball. I think they showed that today, but probably just lacked a bit of cutting edge.

“Ipswich have plenty of attacking options though and they will win football matches.”

It is, however, standard practice – etiquette even – for managers to say such things about the opposition following victory.

The managers’ union tend to stick together in this increasingly pressurised results business. You can’t blame them either.

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Not only that, but praising the opposition also tends to downplay rising expectations among your own supporters. Ian Holloway dismissing his side’s 6-0 thumping of Town recently as a ‘freak result’ is a case in point.

Sometimes, therefore, you have to read between the lines a little. And some of Mowbray’s general comments will be ringing alarm bells among Blues fans concerned by a small squad.

“You always get judged on the result, regardless of whether you’ve had plenty of travel or injuries,” said Mowbray. “That’s why the teams with the greater depth in quality to deal with the three games in six or seven days are successful .

“The ones with the lesser sized squads will have drained days where the players just can’t do it.”

With Wolves and Charlton coming to Portman Road in quick succession this week, Blues fans will be hoping Mowbray’s words aren’t too prophetic.