Revenge would be sweet for Pablo
THE pain of defeat at Rotherham last season is still with Ipswich Town and striker Pablo Counago believes they can not afford the same mistake again.Counago admits there is an extra edge to today's home game as the loss on Easter Monday at Millmoor put paid to their play-off ambitions.
THE pain of defeat at Rotherham last season is still with Ipswich Town and striker Pablo Counago believes they can not afford the same mistake again.
Counago admits there is an extra edge to today's home game as the loss on Easter Monday at Millmoor put paid to their play-off ambitions.
He said: “We had beaten the leaders Portsmouth and were in a very good position to finish in the top six with three games to go. But we lost to Rotherham and that was it.
“Even though it is much earlier this season we know we have to beat Rotherham to start moving up the table. We know we can not afford to get too far behind the top six again. We have to be up there by Christmas or it will be too late for us again. The longer you leave it the harder it gets.”
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The 24-year-old former Celta Vigo striker said: “We must win our home games. We must make teams fear coming to Portman Road by playing well and being strong. You can afford maybe to draw or occasionally lose away but you must win your homes games.”
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Since joining in July 2001, Counago has taken time to fully integrate into the English game but he now feels perfectly at home.
His English has improved markedly and his understanding of the Football League style of play is now virtually complete.
Last season Counago was twice dismissed but he no longer reacts like a bull at an opponent and then the referee who ends up brandishing a red card.
He admits: “Referees are the same all over but perhaps here in England they are more lenient to defenders. They permit more tackles, stronger challenges. It is different than in Spain where they don't permit such tackles.
“But after two years I have learned what they will give. I have improved as a player being here, I have learnt a new way of playing, the culture, the language.
“I have played better but I can do even more. I had two red cards last year which meant I missed a lot of games but this year I'm determined not to get into trouble although it can still be difficult sometimes.”
On Tuesday his anger was vented towards the bench when he was substituted in the second half and sacrificed for the returning Alan Mahon. As it happens the switch in system and personnel led to Sunderland finding a winner but Counago has calmed down since.
He said: “It is normal for players to get upset when they are substituted and I was not happy at all at Sunderland and said so but it is no big deal, there are no problems.
“I feel for the gaffer, he has to decide between four or five good strikers and he knows whoever he leaves out is going to be upset.
“I'm glad I don't have to make the decision. My responsibility is to play and when I do, to play as well as I can.”
After a mini-drought, Counago has come back with two goals, both from the penalty spot, and is sure more will come although his strength to the team has been in his approach play and holding the ball up.
He said: “The goals are important for the strikers, all forwards need to score. But for me it is also important that I work for the team. If you work for the team the goals will come and it doesn't matter too much who from.
“For me the beginning of the season was disappointing, the team were not getting results and for me personally I was working hard but the goals did not come.
“That did not worry me too much and now we are winning and I am scoring. The thing I'm pleased about is we know, like last season, that we can have a very good second half of the season.”
Counago will be up against one of Town's old boys in Chris Swailes today and an altogether big Millers side, not that he is bothered.
He said: “I'm not too concerned about the centre-backs because all the teams in the division have big defenders. I have confidence in my own ability and of my team-mates, if we are confident and play well we can beat Rotherham.”
Revenge is not just sweet but it is imperative if Town want to move into the right area of the division.