Magilton fury

FURIOUS Blues skipper Jim Magilton warned promotion will slip from Town's grasp if players can't handle the pressure of big game atmospheres.Second-placed Ipswich threw away the chance to leap-frog Wigan and go top by losing in disappointing fashion at Sunderland yesterday afternoon.

FURIOUS Blues skipper Jim Magilton warned promotion will slip from Town's grasp if players can't handle the pressure of big game atmospheres.

Second-placed Ipswich threw away the chance to leap-frog Wigan and go top by losing in disappointing fashion at Sunderland yesterday afternoon.

Goals from Stephen Elliott and Chris Brown consigned Town to defeat after four straight wins and allowed the Black Cats to close the gap on then at the top.

An angry Magilton pulled no punches as he pointedly predicted more players need to step forward to the plate if they want to go up.


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He said: "I don't know whether expectations are too high or if it is a case that people can't handle the expectations that are being put on them.

"It is a fantastic opportunity for everyone but if we don't perform in big games like this then we are not going to go anywhere.

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"We are all in football for the big games and if we want to be in the Premiership there are going to be big games every week and we need to handle them."

Magilton did not exclude himself from the overall abject display but excused the defence.

He said: "We were totally outplayed, we lacked passion and lacked real belief. It is quite frightening to think we went into that game unbeaten in four yet allowed our back four and our keeper to come under that much pressure. It is a joke really."

"Next Saturday (at home to Brighton) is a massive game and even more important now to put such a shocking performance behind us.

"We will be back in training this week and looking to putting this behind us.

"We have some strong characters so I hope we can come back.

"That was the worst we have played for a long time. We were poor in midfield and up front, defensively the back four did well and the keeper did very well but we didn't give him any protection at all.

"It was a hugely disappointing day all round.

"They were better than us all over and Darren Carter played very well. They deserved their win.

"We have to swallow it and bounce back it is as simple as that."

Also excused criticism was 16-year-old Ipswich boy Daryl Knights, who made his Town debut as an 80th-minute substitute.

Magilton said: "Great for Daryl. He is a wonderful talent and that will be the first of many games for him and he is destined for bigger and better games."

Knights is expected be included in a Town reserve side which faces Fulham at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7pm). Matt Richards, Aidan Collins and Shane Supple, who were unused substitutes at the Stadium of Light, will also play.

Full match reports, pictures

and reaction: Pages 2-5

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