‘They stood up to be counted... they were like warriors’ - Hurst on his Ipswich players
PUBLISHED: 18:32 18 August 2018 | UPDATED: 18:32 18 August 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst saluted his ‘warrior’ players and the Portman Road crowd following his side’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.
The Blues played much of the contest with 10-men, following Tayo Edun’s red card on 40 minutes, with Hurst less than impressed by the refereeing of Tim Robinson.
But, after questioning his players following Tuesday’s Carabao Cup humbling at Exeter, the Ipswich manager was delighted with his side’s reaction.
“It was totally different circumstances to Tuesday night, but so much has been made of that that I don’t really know what the fuss is about, in terms of my interview.
“In terms of a reaction, this wasn’t the circumstances we all would have chosen but the players absolutely stood up to be counted and were like warriors out there.
“We very much Aston Villa a game even when down to 10 men and we still carried a threat of sorts and limited them to very little, especially when you look at the quality they’ve got in their side. Everyone in the ground today was proud to be associated with that team, which we saw with the ovation they gave the team at the end.
“While I fully appreciate it’s not three points it almost feels as good as a win with that feeling. We’re not playing against a team from a lower league, we’re playing a team expected to be right in the mix for promotion and have players who have played higher and are internationals.
“I’m delighted for the players that they did see it out because, if we had conceded late, it would have been extremely cruel.”
When asked if he got the answers to the questions he asked his players following Tuesday night’s loss, Hurst said: “I think I saw a group who are fully committed and worked extremely hard and I expect nothing less than that.
“I want to work with men and I think I saw a group of men take the field today and perform out there in very difficult circumstances. I’m very proud of them for their efforts today and I think the fans will always accept some deficiencies if they have a team and players who are giving it all for the shirt.
“To it all they certainly did that today.”
When asked for his thoughts on Edun’s red card, which came for two yellow cards for fouls on Ahmed Elmohamady and Axel Tuanzebe, Hurst said: “I don’t think it’s a red card. I’ve not seen it close up but at the time and from wide-angled footage - the second one especially - if it’s a foul then you don’t see referees (give them).
“He gave himself loads of time to think about it and I thought he was just letting the situation settle down and would just tell Tayo to be careful, if it was a foul.
“But when he produced I was amazed in all honesty. I think he booked Alan Hutton in the second half and that wasn’t a booking either. It’s ridiculous. We’re trying to make the sport non-contact it feels like and I genuinely don’t think anyone wants to see that. I know I certainly don’t and I don’t think the fans our players do.
“I think he (referee Tim Robinson) had a bad game and I will have to put that in the report. We also got a couple of soft ones towards the end.
“People can say it evened itself out, but it didn’t even itself out. Both sets of staff will probably have a similar view.”
Hurst admitted he was preparing to send a message on to tell Edun to remain calm following the tackle which ultimately earned him his second yellow, but didn’t get the chance as referee Robinson took his time before brandishing the card.
“He’s down and he’s apologising but, in truth, we can all in hindsight be really careful and tell him not to go for that ball because he’d been booked, but I genuinely don’t see it being anywhere close to being a booking,” he said.
“It would have almost been a point of, if we thought that situation might happen, then there was no point him being out there and I would have taken him off
“With the crowd and the energy after the second one I was thinking ‘right, he needs to be careful and we need to get a message out there’ but I didn’t get the chance because it was totally the wrong decision.
“Usually, if you commit a foul and it’s your first you might get a booking straight away, but your second is hardly ever is unless it’s really bad.
“I can’t see it’s even close to being a bad foul, if it’s a bad foul at all.”
Ellis Harrison has an ice pack on his knee after being replaced by Kayden Jackson while Jon Nolan took a kick to his calf in the first minute and Cole Skuse left the pitch feeling his quad.
“I was concerned about Jon during the first half but we got him going again at half-time, but it reached the point where he couldn’t have done much more.
“Skusey’s feeling his quad but had to stay out there. There’s a lot of walking wounded in there and plenty of tired legs but, thankfully, their efforts got something out of the game.
When asked about potential incomings, and renewed efforts to bring in Curtis Tilt from Blackpool, Hurst said: “Nothing’s changed in the fact he’s a player I like but nothing’s changed on that situation.”