Stuart Watson’s Sunday Verdict: That’s how Ipswich Town will truly win back hearts and minds
Ipswich Town lost 3-2 at Championship table-toppers Leeds United in an enthralling game at Elland Road yesterday. STUART WATSON gives his considered verdict.
More of that please Ipswich Town.
It sounds a strange thing to say after defeat, but there were so many positives to take from the Blues’ 3-2 reverse at Leeds yesterday.
They went toe-to-toe with the confident Championship table-toppers, not only showing typical character but also going about their business with intensity, positivity and belief.
This was, arguably, Town’s best display of the season so far. Oddly, it was a more convincing display than any of the previous five league victories. It was certainly more entertaining than the 2-0 home win over rock-bottom Bolton a week earlier.
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There’s been a debate raging about what Town fans really want – winning football or entertainment? Self-styled pragmatist Mick McCarthy says points will always be more important than performances. Surely there is a symbiotic relationship between the two though?
Produce cautious, passive, limp performances like they did against Fulham, QPR and Bolton and Town will lose more than they win. Play with the gumption, dynamism and conviction shown at the weekend, signs of which we’d already seen in some of those early victories, then the rest takes care of itself.
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Fortune favours the brave. It’s a phrase that’s oft repeated in this column over the last 18 months. Town have got the players to entertain, excite and unite. No-one has been calling for ‘Barcelona football’ on a shoestring budget. They’ve just wanted a bit more bang for their buck.
This new-look squad is far more dynamic than the one which bored us all to death in 2016/17. Striker Joe Garner has provided a physical, nasty edge that was lacking. Academy graduates Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam have added some youthful exuberance. Silky forward David McGoldrick and reliable midfielder Cole Skuse have raised their games too.
Last season has gone. Let’s draw a line under that once and for all. The recent criticism was simply born out of frustration that we could see the team slipping back into bad old habits.
McCarthy said his players had their ‘hands on the throat’ of Leeds in the second half. Play like that from the first whistle in this week’s home double header – Sunderland tomorrow night and Bristol City on Saturday – and hearts and minds will truly be won back.