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Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook felt they deserved to take more than a point from Oxford United at Portman Road and full of praise for Bailey Clements



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Paul Cook felt his Ipswich Town side were worthy of all three points during this afternoon's home stalemate with fellow Sky Bet League One promotion chasers Oxford United.

Despite drawing a blank at Portman Road only four days' previously against Colchester United in the Papa John's (EFL) Trophy, it was the first time the Blues had been unable to score in the league this season, following 17 matches.

In front of a crowd of 21,322 they went agonizingly on several occasions, with top scorer Macualey Bonne and Bersant Celina seeing efforts come back off the same post in the first half.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook was pleased with the performance his side put in against Oxford United and disappointed it did not send a 21,000-plus Portman Road crowd home with a victory to celebrate Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook was pleased with the performance his side put in against Oxford United and disappointed it did not send a 21,000-plus Portman Road crowd home with a victory to celebrate Picture: Barry Goodwin

The second half saw the Blues lay siege to the U's goalmouth but they unable to find a way through Karl Robinson's side, with the visitors in the end happy to do what they could to run the clock down.

It sees Town remain ninth in the table and still four points adrift of sixth-placed Oxford.

But Cook felt that gap should have closed to a single point, following what he saw as a highly-pleasing dominant second-half display.

"I thought we deserved to win, I've got to be a bit biased," he told reporters following the full-time whistle.

"I thought the first half was very equal. We've hit the post twice.

"I think Oxford are a good side, there is no getting away from that. Oxford showed their credentials in the game very early on, how they moved the ball from side to side, how they've got good players and good penetration.

"But I thought second half we took control of the game. Kicking into the end we like kicking to I felt the goal was coming.

"We allowed Oxford only brief counter-attacks in the second half so I was really pleased with how we played. I was really pleased with everything about our performance today.

"Sometimes you have got to assert yourself on a game and make sure it's a game you don't lose and I felt we did that well today."

When it was put to him that Oxford had also been scoring a lot of goals, so to keep a clean sheet against them must also be a big positive to take from the afternoon, Cook replied: "I think Karl (Robinson) said that. He said we might cancel each other out and I never felt the game ended up like that.

"I felt first half, especially both teams with different styles having their moments at both ends without a doubt.

"But second half I felt very, very comfortable on the bench. I felt we really, really turned up a level and I felt we were looking like we were going to score and unfortunately, we just couldn't produce that moment of magic that would have seen a fantastic crowd go home delighted.

"So we just keep working hard, we keep looking to the next game and we try and do better."

Cook went on to praise the performance of league debutant Bailey Clements, who had come in at left-back as well as revealing Matt Penney, who was not named on the bench, had not picked up an injury.

"He was absolutely outstanding," he said of the Ipswich-raised brother of former Bury Town and AFC Sudbury defender Kyran Clements.

"For our young lads and everyone at Ipswich Town they have seen such a turnover in players and they've all seen how much it is to have one of your own playing as well.

"And if you work hard at our football club and you get an opportunity the right thing will happen.

"Bailey is a big Ipswich Town fan. I am sure his family is very proud of him today and his debut was fully deserved.

"I think with the way he played, as you can imagine yourself, he will be hard to leave out."

He added: "We've got a very strong 18s and 23s. We believe the first team is getting stronger and we don't want to just be a club that buys players.

"We want to produce our own players. Ipswich Town, over many years, has always done that. And we've seen a lad step up today and have an outstanding debut, so well done Bailey."

He said there will be changes made in his selection for Tuesday's FA Cup relay at League Two Oldham Athletic but only to try and secure a home tie with Barrow.

"Listen, there will be changes," he said. "But purely on the basis that we want to pick a team to go and win the game.

"We want to pick a very strong, aggressive team. We want to play Barrow at home in the next round.

"Like I've just said to the lads, big clubs have a lot of football games because they are on good runs and that's what we want to develop into."

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