‘If it’s deemed not good enough, then so be it’ - Hurst on his future after defeat at Leeds
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Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst admits he doesn’t know what owner Marcus Evans is thinking following last night’s 2-0 defeat at Leeds United.
The Blues produced a much-improved display at Elland Road, but ultimately ended up comfortably beaten as Marcelo Bielsa’s men returned to the top of the Championship table as Town – with nine points from 14 games – remain rooted to the foot of it.
Asked if rumours of Evans sounding out potential managerial replacements had affected him, Hurst replied: “Unfortunately those things are out there. Are they healthy? Realistically, no.
“But as I said going into the game, all you can do is focus on your job and do it to the best of your ability. Ultimately, if it’s deemed not good enough, then so be it. It doesn’t help. There’s something else that I’m not happy about.”
Confirming that he still hasn’t spoken to anyone at the club about his future, Hurst was asked if he felt he would like some reassurances from above about his future.
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“That’s whether Marcus feels that he needs to or not,” he replied. “In a lot of ways, I’m not going to lie, managers are pleased when they are left to get on with the job. I’m not going to complain that he’s not ringing me every day.”
Asked if he felt he could turn the situation around, he said: “Yeah, we hope so. I was told after the weekend we were ‘rock-bottom’. I don’t see it like that. We’re in a pack of teams currently that, whether we all like it or not, are going to be fighting to stay in the division. I would suggest that maybe one team out of that will pull away and there will be one team, maybe two, who will drop back down.
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“We’ve got to hang in there for as long as possible until we gain more confidence, maybe try and improve the squad. We’ve lost Jon Walters and Ellis Harrison at the top end of the pitch and are very limited in terms of what we can do there and how we want to try and play.
“It’s not an excuse, but sometimes things go against you and you have to try and find different ways. At the moment we’re still trying to do that.”
Asked if he felt there was sympathy for him in that regard, Hurst said: “I think in some ways and in others there won’t be. That’s football. That’s opinions. Some people are sympathetic and other people expect you to win the league. That’s the industry that we’re in.
“The next three are big games (Millwall away, Preston home, Reading away) in that they are against teams in the lower reaches, but even then it won’t all be done and dusted after these three games. There is still a long, long way to go.
“At the very worst we don’t want that gap to get any bigger and hopefully will reduce it. One victory and you can be out of the relegation zone. We’ve got to make sure we stay in that pack of teams.”
Reflecting on tonight’s game, Hurst said: “I think if anyone was expecting anything different in terms of it being a tough evening then they haven’t been paying attention to Leeds United this season. It doesn’t matter what we are. It was always going to be tough.
“I have honestly seen Leeds outplay teams more than they have tonight. Whether or not they were stretched we can debate that, but I didn’t feel as threatened as I might have expected to at times. Albeit they did up the tempo in that second period.
“It’s a fantastic ball in (for Kemar Roofe’s 22nd minute opener). I think we could have done more to stop the cross, but ultimately it was a moment of quality in terms of the delivery. I’d have fancied myself to score that.
“I think if we were a team full of players that weren’t willing to fight we’d have lost by more than a 2-0 scoreline. I know they it the post, but what I didn’t see – and I don’t know if anyone felt differently – I didn’t feel like I saw a team that would just roll over and let Leeds do what they want.
“Unfortunately Leeds are a very good team and we couldn’t take advantage of maybe them not being quite at their best in terms of confidence coming into the game after a little bit of a run.
“We didn’t turn up with the intention not to try and win. We came here to try and get something, so I’ll quash any thoughts of that.”