The Verdict: Perspective required, but Ipswich Town must not fall back into bad old habits
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Right now, it feels a little like the Ipswich Town bubble has burst. Some perspective is required though.
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at QPR came a fortnight after a 2-0 home loss to Fulham. For the second successive game, boss Mick McCarthy conceded his side deserved nothing from the game.
And that comes after the Blues rode their luck somewhat for significant spells during those opening four wins against Birmingham (21st), Barnsley (15th), Millwall (19th) and Brentford (23rd) – all sides struggling in the early stages of the season.
Those 12 points are on the board though and can’t be taken away. The character shown to record the best start to a league season in 43 years just weeks after the lowest finish in 58 years should not be quickly forgotten. The achievement should not be disparaged.
Six games played and Town are fourth in the table. Prior to the international break they were out-classed on home turf by bone fide promotion contenders, after it they lost a tough away game against an organised and rejuvenated Ian Holloway outfit. It’s hardly panic stations.
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While we all enjoyed the fine start, no-one was getting carried away and suddenly thinking Town were promotion contenders. What had been so refreshing, perhaps even more so than the results, was the way McCarthy and his players were going about their business.
The Blues boss was being less cautious, his new signings and youth team debutants had added some much-needed dynamism to the team and, ultimately, performances to enjoy and be proud of were again being produced.
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That’s been the most disappointing thing about the last two games. Town have lost a little bit of that aggressive, quick-closing, in-your-face edge and fallen back into some old, passive habits.
Having clinically taken their chances on the break, it’s like they’ve talked themselves into being a team that sits back, allows the opposition to have all of the ball and focuses solely on counter-attacking.
McCarthy waiting until the 76th minute to bring on skilful attacker Bersant Celina at Loftus Road was too little, too late when there was nothing to lose.
Town must get back to being a front foot side when struggling Bolton visit Portman Road on Saturday.