‘You can’t give goals away like that... we have to show fight’ - Hurst on Middlesbrough loss
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Paul Hurst admitted his Ipswich Town side were their own worst enemy this evening as they gifted Middlesbrough two goals in their 2-0 loss.
The visitors were two goals up inside 16 minutes at Portman Road through Mo Besic and Stewart Downing on a night where the gap in quality between the two sides was clear to see.
Besic was given time and space to run at the Ipswich defence and pick his spot for the first before a Luke Chambers pass gifted Downing a similar opportunity.
And while Hurst’s side did respond with a better display after the break, they never really looked like battling back with the damage already done.
“Everyone’s witnessed that and you don’t need to be a football manager or to have played to understand what happened and there’s no getting away from it,” he said.
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“People may not like it but it doesn’t matter what system you’re playing or anything like that – you can’t give goals away. Especially against a team like Middlesbrough who have quality in their ranks and give up very few goals.
“I actually think we caused them a few problems and realistically should have got on the scoresheet at some point, although obviously that was more in the second period.
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“I thought we started the game well but when a goal goes in it dents our confidence. Then the second is when it really changed, the whole atmosphere in the ground, and was a difficult night for everybody. That’s particularly hard for players because you’ve got to show a lot of mental strength and character to want to get on the ball and not fear making another mistake.
“That first half made it extremely difficult but you have to show enough character to get through that.”
Hurst believes he has those characters in the squad but wants to see more.
“Second half would suggest we do but we can’t play for 45 minutes, it has to be a lot more than that.
“Maybe they took their foot off the gas but we won more second balls, competed and looked like we ran harder in the second half. That has to be right from the word go because we’re not good enough to play for just 45 minutes and that’s very evident.
“Unfortunately, all we can do is move onto the next one. We can’t replay this or get it back.
“It’s a very difficult league, everyone’s aware of that, but the situation we find ourselves in certainly means every game is difficult.
“Even if we had a cup game coming up against lower opposition it would still be approached with some trepidation at the minute because that’s the situation we find ourselves in.
“There’s only us who can get ourselves out of it. We aren’t going to get any help. We have to stand up, fight and find every ounce of energy and desire to try and change what we’re currently going through.”
What can the Blues boss do to ensure his players cut out the errors?
“To a degree the only thing you can do is tell the players not to get the ball in certain areas and not take any risks whatsoever,” he said.
“I don’t think, to be honest, the situation in the lead up to the second goal is even a risk. I don’t know quite what happened.
“You can basically not want it and lump it up the pitch. I think where we’re at right now with out options at the top end of the pitch we can’t do that. Very few teams can do that against a team like Middlesbrough with the physicality they’ve got and dominance in the air.
“You have to play against them to have joy and we showed that at times – but the frustration is you’re going up against a good team and we’ve given them two goals. That makes the task extremely difficult and changes everything.
“If we had played for 90 minutes and you get beat, it’s still frustration, but people are a lot happier.”