'Look at the stats... we're fine' - Taylor preaches positivity following EFL Trophy exit at Exeter
PUBLISHED: 18:01 04 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:04 04 January 2020
Ipswich Town assistant boss Stuart Taylor has implored supporters to 'look at the bigger picture' after this afternoon's 2-1 EFL Trophy defeat at Exeter City saw the club's winless run extend to 12 games.
Former Blues winger Lee Martin poked home a stoppage-time winner as a penalty shootout loomed, Will Keane's expert finish (57) having cancelled out Nicky Ajose's opener right on half-time.
The Grecians may be flying high in League Two, but boss Matt Taylor made nine changes to a team that was full of youngsters and reserves. Town's team, also much changed, contained plenty of experience.
"I thought they did really well, we played some really good football at times," said Taylor. "We asked the lads to be brave. On this sort of surface a lot of teams would have gone back to front and not taken any chances, but we asked them to be brave, to play the style of football that is suitable to them as football players and how we want the club to go and play - get it down and play with intensity.
"I thought we did that, I thought we were creative, we just need to learn our lessons in terms of being a little bit more ruthless in both boxes.
"We created some really good chances but we just didn't make the keeper work enough or he pulled off some good saves.
"The two late chances that they've had in each half they've got goals from. That was a real suckerpunch at the end. We didn't see it coming, we didn't expect it.
"All credit to them, they took their chances and they go through to the next round. It's massively disappointing for us because we did enough in the game to win it."
Asked why the team has regularly failed to be ruthless in both boxes of late, Taylor replied: "I think it takes time to be like that. It takes time to work that ruthless streak in them. That's not something that's going to happen overnight. It's something we need to be a little bit patient with. They will get there, there is no doubt about that.
"They are a good bunch of lads and have done everything that we've asked since we've come in. The manager has put a lot of demands on them in terms of how we want to go and play. We've changed that style of play and they've done great with it. I guess it's just another thing that we keep demanding off them - being ruthless. But they're trying, there's no doubt about that.
"Sometimes you need a bit of luck as well. We'll keep working at it and look to add it to our game."
A win today would have out Ipswich just wins away from a Wembley final. Asked if it was a missed opportunity against Exeter's B side, Taylor replied: "I wouldn't say it was their B team. We made a lot of changes as well.
"We said we'd field a strong team today and we did that. They fielded a strong team as well, albeit they made changes too.
"I think it showed who was dominant and who was the better side. I'm not taking anything away from Exeter, I wish them all the very best in the next round, but we were the better side.
"We've created more chances, we've had more shots on target, more shots on goal, more corners... You can look at all the different stats, if you go down the stats route. But the big final stat is that they scored more goals than us and go through.
"Everything else in the game... There are loads of positives to take out of it, there really is. There's no hiding from the fact that we're disappointed not to go through, we wanted to go through, but sometimes you get hit with a suckerpunch."
Quizzed as to whether he and the staff were concerned by what is now a 12-game winless streak, the Blues coach said: "Not at all. When you look at the league, and go into the stats, we're top of the league for our defensive record, we're something like seventh for goals for, away record we're top of the league, so there are a lot of positives there.
"It's very easy to be negative, but we're not those type of people. I've never been brought up that way and I know the manager hasn't either.
"It's about putting that positivity into the club and being realistic with it. When you look at those stats, we're fine. It's just a case of continuing a lot of the work we've done in the last two games and being a little bit more ruthless to see out games."
He added: "I want to win every game, so it's disappointing we've lost today, but sometimes in football you've got to look at the bigger picture. Are we doing things right? Have we deserved to win games? Today we did deserve to win the game, there's no getting away from that. It just goes back to being ruthless in both boxes, because everywhere in between has been very, very good.
"If somebody said we didn't control the game then I don't know what game they were watching. We'll learn from it and go on to the next game and look forward to it."
On Freddie Sears and Teddy Bishop both making their first competitive starts since February and April respectively following long-term injuries, Taylor said: "Freddie got 60 minutes and I thought he did excellent. It was great to see him running around and looking like the type of plater that we saw last season. Hopefully we get him back flying pretty soon.
"Bish came in and looked like he hadn't been away. For a lot of the game he was really impressive. He kept picking up little pockets and being really positive and aggressive on the ball. I thought he was fantastic and did really, really well.
"He got 75 minutes and that was a massive bonus. All credit to him and the medical team for getting him back. It's something for them both to build on. Hopefully we can use them a lot for the remainder of the season."
With Keane producing a cool finish, just like he did at Lincoln, Taylor added: "We all knew he was a quality finisher and the quality he's got. We had to be a little bit patient getting him back to where he is now. Over the last couple of weeks his performances have been excellent and it's great he's been chipping in with goals as well. It gives the manager a little food for thought when he does and picks his front line."