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Paul Cook not worried about Ipswich Town's woeful start to the season but admits Bolton Wanderers defeat was one of his toughest days in management




Following today's 5-2 home defeat to Bolton Wanderers, Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook insists he is not worrying about his team's winless start to the season and steadfastly believes it will come good.

He also refused to criticse the players, saying all the responsibility falls on his own shoulders.

A summer overhaul of the squad under new American investment had led The Tractor Boys to be installed as one of the favourites for the title and promotion from SKY Bet League One.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has his head in his hands after watching Bolton Wanderers score again Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has his head in his hands after watching Bolton Wanderers score again Picture: Barry Goodwin

But three 2-2 home draws and back-to-back away defeats have been followed this afternoon's 5-2 defeat to leave them third-from-bottom and winless in six matches.

It was another 90 minutes where Cook watched his side repeat their recent unwanted trick of throwing away a lead.

Asked by a tv journalist to sum up how a dream start turned into a nightmare he replied: "I think you've just summed it up, I don't think you need me to. I think you've summed it up perfectly.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook on the touchline this afternoon Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook on the touchline this afternoon Picture: Barry Goodwin

"It's probably one of the toughest days I've had in management, a really difficult day. To watch your team, like our type is, take the lead and start brightly, look good and get the crowd on our side and equalise. Then all of a sudden we just give goals away and at the minute it is something we have to eradicate.

"There will be no criticism of the players from me. I put the team on the pitch.

"This is a very proud club and that was a very not proud performance from us today.

"We can hide behind the three lads making their debuts or whatever we want.

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook handed a debut to on-loan Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Christian Walton, but he was to be picking the ball out of his net five times against Bolton Wanderers Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook handed a debut to on-loan Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Christian Walton, but he was to be picking the ball out of his net five times against Bolton Wanderers Picture: Barry Goodwin

"There is two ways to play football: one with the ball and one without.

"And fortunately for us we are quite okay with the ball; we still score goals, we're doing alright and we've missed a couple of chances.

"Without the ball we are a million miles away from where we need to be as a team. And that is something that we have to eradicate dramatically."

Ipswich Town's Sone Aluko was picked out for praise by Paul Cook Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ipswich Town's Sone Aluko was picked out for praise by Paul Cook Picture: Barry Goodwin

Asked how he was going to eradicate it he replied: "By not trying to talk to you much, by not trying to talk nonsense to our supporters who watched the same game as me.

"By a desire and a willingness to work and a desire to do things with that hunger and aggression in your play, which is something that we sadly lack at the minute and it is something we must right."

Paul Cook left the Portman Road pitch at the full-time whistle once again a dejected figure Picture: Barry Goodwin
Paul Cook left the Portman Road pitch at the full-time whistle once again a dejected figure Picture: Barry Goodwin

When put to him that he had had four wins in 23 games Cook said: "I don't think it's fair to throw the record from last year at this, if I be truthful, because you are now talking about two different squads.

"I accept criticism, I am not a lad who will hide behind anything than the games you see. So I think it is a bit unfair to throw last year's results when we've changed 19 players.

"I think this year we have recruited very well. We are strong and everyone looks at us as favourites but then you see the performance and we're not playing like a team that will be promoted.

"At the minute we show individual qualities but not collective ones, so the reality of that is you go away and you work very hard to be better and that is what we will do."

He went on to add: "Today we let our fans down. You can't manage and play for clubs like this and have performances like that and speak about acceptance, it's not. But there is only so many adjectives negatively you can speak about yourselves before you must go away and think 'right, how do we go away and respond to that?' That is the biggest test in anyone's character."

Moving on to his radio interview with BBC Radio Suffolk he responded to being asked how disappointing the afternoon was by saying: "I try my best not to hide, espeically for our supporters.

"Some of the stuff that you see you like and you think we're doing okay but then some of the stuff you see when we haven't got the ball is really worrying and it is has to change Brenner. And the only way it changes is by video analysis, recreating the situations and going back out there.

"If you look at the percentages of games this season we take the lead and we give a goal away very quickly after it, and I struggle with that.

"It is something we speak about and we will keep speaking about and we will keep working on to get better."

Asked what he thought it may be down to and whether it was concentration he said the buck stops with him.

"I think as a manager and especially like myself who I would like to call experienced now and I've been around football for a bit, it's on me.

"This is my job. It is a massive football club and it is an honour to manage clubs like this and to get better sometimes and to get to where you want to be you've got to feel pain and we certainly felt pain today."

Asked if the start the team had made to the season worried him he quickly replied: "No. I've got to tell you, no. It genuninely doesn't.

"I'd love to be able to say it does. I know the personel in the building, I know the players that aren't available that will come in, I know the characteristics of a Sammy Morsy type, for example, will be everything that we lacked today. He will be there times 10. There will be no performances like that when he is in the team but the reality is we have not got him (yet).

"And what we have got to offer our fans now is more.

"We can't guarantee any of our players turn up. We brought Edmundson and Burgess in today and it looked like they had never played together.

"So the reality for me is I shoulder all that, it's what I have been brought in to do, it's what I've done at other clubs. Unfortunately it's probably the lowest point in my career today, it's up there with the best of them, and I'll take that on."

Asked if he must have expected more today, even without his most recent additions, including Bersant Celina, he said: "We can't keep scoring two goals and losing games, it's not football, it's just not football.

"And within our openess and wanting to please fans, and the games have been good here. And you must credit the opposition.

"Bolton were excellent today and I think they leave today with all the plaudits and rightly so.

"We will look our wounds and we will come back and that's 100 per cent for sure."

Asked if he understood the reaction from the fans at full-time who broke into a chorus of boos, he replied: "100 per cent I get it. I'm a fan.

"Again, if I'm a fan and I'm looking at it I'm looking at a brand new team in general and lads where relationships are struggling to form.

"I thought Sone Aluko was excellent by the way today, I've got to say that guys, and I'm looking for positives, not for our supporters but for me as a manager and coach there is no positives.

"You don't lose 5-2 and have positives. That team today is a team that I look at and I'd watch myself and I would want to criticise.

"My job is to solve the problems and that is something we will work hard to do."

Town return to action at Portman Road on Tuesday when West Ham United Under-21s visit in the Papa John's EFL Trophy group stage (7.45pm).

Cook once again promised it will be a strong side he will be fielding.

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