Monday verdict: Ipswich Town players are not beyond reproach as Portman Road purgatory plumbs new depths
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
The spotlight of criticism has often eluded Ipswich Town’s players in 2016, but today they need to look themselves in the mirror.
As the club has continued to stagnate badly this calendar year, a lot of fingers have been pointed at owner Marcus Evans’ lack of investment and manager Mick McCarthy’s tactics.
Those concerns are still very much at the heart of the big picture, but the men who pulled on the blue shirt for Saturday’s dire 2-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest let down supporters badly and must not be beyond reproach.
This performance was a mess from start to finish. A catalogue of defensive errors led to Town turning their own kick-off into a goal conceded with just 17 seconds on the clock. The killer second, which arrived deep into first-half stoppage-time, was equally as shambolic.
Say what you like about McCarthy, but he could not legislate for that.
If the first half was about a lack of concentration and fight, the second half was about a lack of attacking nous. Considering there were plenty of creative players on the field, Town’s attempts to break down a team that had not kept a clean sheet all season were desperate.
Just what were the tactics in the second half? What is Plan B when Town go behind?
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McCarthy is finally picking the balanced team that many fans had long been calling out for, but are his instructions stifling players?
Perhaps, but players have to take self-responsibility when they cross that white line. There needs to be some leaders who step up when the going gets tough and think their way through sticky in-game situations.
Considering these players are all meant to be desperate to repay the faith of their loyal boss they have been letting him down too often.
Some will say that’s what you get when you have an owner who sells the club’s best players and doesn’t provide his manager with transfer funds. Yes, there is an element of that, but this is not a poor Championship squad. The wage bill is more than competitive.
The 2-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday prior to the international break was no fluke – that was a superb away display. There were seven clean sheets in 11 not so long too. These players are capable and that’s what makes it so frustrating.
Depressing is probably a better word. That’s one home win in six for supporters who are charged some of the most expensive ticket prices in the division. They’ve been provided very little entertainment value for some time now. Anger has turned to apathy as the club continues to tread water on so many levels.
And it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel as the Portman Road purgatory plumbs new depths.