Royle's anger over defensive errors
JOE Royle has once again slammed his team's lack of defensive attitude and described them as "happy amateurs", writes Derek Davis.The Blues boss complained that he has been warning them since the day he took over as manager in May 2002 – 100 games ago – that the squad had the wrong attitude to defending, yet still they conceded goals due to their attacking instincts.
JOE Royle has once again slammed his team's lack of defensive attitude and described them as "happy amateurs", writes Derek Davis.
The Blues boss complained that he has been warning them since the day he took over as manager in May 2002 – 100 games ago – that the squad had the wrong attitude to defending, yet still they conceded goals due to their attacking instincts.
After seeing yet another goal from what started with a set-piece, netted by defender Malky Mackay who also scored twice against Town for Norwich last March, Royle said: "Everyone seems to think it is just the back four who have to defend and no one else. It is an Ipswich attitude that when we have the ball everyone can play.
"At times we have defended like happy amateurs. When Mackay came in for the cross he had a quarter of an acre to go into, whereas ... we don't have that luxury and have to work for our goals.
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"We have to defend properly as a team and not just a back four.
"Our front two did nothing for us first half and then working through midfield we let players run, and that leaves our defence overrun.
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"It is nothing new, I said on my first day at the club that we need a better attitude to defending last season – only the relegated sides conceded more, while we scored 80 goals."
The Blues have scored in every game this season and before failing to net against the Hammers in May had knocked in at least one goal since the 2-0 defeat at Stoke in March. They have not had a goal-less draw since meeting Millwall last December at the New Den.
Royle added: "I know we will always score goals, it is just defending we need to get better at."
Royle made one change for the side that lost 3-2 at Stoke last week, with Pablo Counago starting and snatching his second goal in three games.
Royle said: "Pablo is still not fit to play 90 minutes and hit a wall. But he did better and overall that was his best game of the season.
"We knew we would not win headers against their two central defenders who are Jolly Green Giants, so we wanted to play it in to Pablo's feet and he did well."
Royle was happier with the second half showing than the first, when West Ham also missed a penalty, and only two outstanding saves from Kelvin Davis denied them a bigger half-time lead.
Royle said: "Second half we were terrific. We might even have nicked it, which would have been slightly harsh."
Blues have again been linked with Crystal Palace striker Dougie Freedman and West Brom defender Darren Moore.