McKenna: Disappointed not to win but no complaints with draw – Ipswich Town News

McKenna: Disappointed not to win but no complaints with draw – Ipswich Town News

McKenna: Disappointed not to win but no complaints with a draw
Saturday 14 January 2023 18:45

Town boss Kieran McKenna had few complaints that the Blues’ 1-1 draw with League One leaders Plymouth Argyle ended level, although the Northern Irishman was disappointed his side had not won the game after going a goal ahead via Wes Burns.

The Bali Mamba’s wicked injury-time equalizer claimed a point for the Pilgrims, who remain seven points clear of the Blues having played a game more than Town and second-placed Sheffield Wednesday, who are four points clear of McKenna’s men.

Asked if what had been an entertaining game between two well-matched teams was a great advertisement for League One football, McKenna said that was not his main concern.

“I’m not too interested in announcing anything at the moment,” he said. “It was a fantastic advertisement for the football club in terms of the support and the passion of the people of Ipswich to get behind the team, to get behind the club.

“We’re so grateful for that, it was one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen in an English football ground, I don’t think there’s been many better atmospheres anywhere today.

“And it made for a very intense game, two good teams going toe-to-toe and a very intense game and of course we’re disappointed we didn’t go and win it from being in the position we were in. so late in the game.

“But we will learn from the experience. It was such a big game even for our experienced players, but certainly for our less experienced ones to play in. Probably the biggest crowd, the best atmosphere that maybe the vast majority of the field have played under and they will learn and be stronger for it.

“We are disappointed at the moment but there is a long way to go in the season and if we manage our emotions properly we will be stronger for the experience today.”

Was a draw the right result? “I don’t think we can have too many complaints, to be fair. Both teams had chances and both teams will feel they deserved to get something out of the game.

“At 1-0 up, I don’t think Plymouth did much for the equaliser, to be honest. It wasn’t like we defended a flurry of shots and crosses and chances and pressure, they maybe only had one shot in the 20, 25 minutes we had the lead.

“And it takes a big deflection and loops up in the top corner. So I think we can say there was a bit of luck to the goal, but the only thing I’m interested in is the bits that we can do better, and we definitely can do better in defending that situation.

– We wanted to win the game. In reality, it was also important not to lose it, because it would be a huge boost for a difficult opponent.

“We have to take the point and we have to look ahead and move on to the next game.”

Town have introduced late-stage players in a number of games this season and have dropped 15 points from winning positions. Asked why he believes that is the case, McKenna said: “We will continue to reflect on that. We have done it in different ways. We have tried to be very aggressive on the front foot at times when we have defended a lead or when we are in excess and we have conceded late goals.

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“Today we defended more fit. It wasn’t easy to get as much pressure up the pitch as we wanted in that phase whenever Plymouth changed shape, but at the same time we were there, we defended our box and you have to be able to do that in elements of the game.

“I think it’s rarely one thing, it’s a combination of things. We have to be able to defend our box better late in the game and do the things we have to do – stay out of the box, push the line higher when defending the box.

“We had a couple of chances to build counter-attacks from bad crosses that they attempted into the box and we were a bit nervous and we hacked our clearances and that brought the pressure back on. We can do better.

And then we can defend the situation better when they play a very smart ball into our box. Our blocking could be better, the way we get down the line of scrimmage, the way we get to the ball so we don’t get unlucky with deflections.

“There are details there that we can improve. But there is also an element of luck to the goal. I don’t think you can hide from it, but it’s not something we can control, so we’ll work really hard next week on the parts we can control.”

As for the seven-point gap to the Pilgrims, while the Blues have a game in hand, he added: “Everything to play for, a lot of football. It is a very tough division this year as last year, some good teams. I think everyone has seen our quality and what we can do as a team.

“Plymouth also showed their quality. Both clubs have strong squads, both clubs had strong benches, they had really good substitutes to bring in as well and there’s a lot of football to be played between now and May 6.

“We will continue to fight. I have every faith in the players and the attitude and the way they will work on it.

“I loved the atmosphere in the stadium, the positivity, the energy, it’s just everything we could need and ask for and we have to stay that way.

“If we keep pushing like that, we will get stronger and stronger as a football club and the players will get stronger and stronger for it.

“Twenty games to go, hopefully many more big games and atmospheres like there were at Portman Road and we’ll keep pushing and I’m very sure if we bring the same energy as a football club as we did today, we’re going to get where we want to get to in the end.”

Centre-back Luke Woolfenden showed composure and laid the ball off to Wes Burns for the Welshman’s goal, but McKenna highlighted the 24-year-old’s defensive performance.

“I haven’t seen it back yet,” he said of the goal. “I thought he was excellent all game, to be fair. Plymouth were really direct, I think they respected our pressure. I thought their centre-backs just seemed to go in behind every time and they have two good forwards on that, [Ryan] Hardie and [Niall] Ennis is a threat at the back and is a handful.

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“We tried to be brave and get pressure on the ball but they tried to smash it in behind every time and did really well, so it was a big challenge for Woolfenden and Burge today and they stood up to it.

“At the back they were really brave in terms of how they defended us. They marked us man to man in big spaces and we had great opportunities and space to attack as well.

“Both teams defended bravely and both sets of defenders deserve some credit for how they managed to keep it to one goal for the opposition.”
Regarding the Burns goal, he added: “A good strike. We know he is a good finisher and he hits it well in the box. There are a couple of goals for him recently and he needs to keep pushing for the team.

The Blues boss was pleased with the impact of new loan signing George Hirst coming off the bench in the second half.

“I thought he gave us really good energy and threat,” he said. “I thought Freddie [Ladapo] did really well too, to be fair i thought it was a real fight between him and [Dan] Scarr and he gave us a good platform to play on.

“George came on with fresh legs and gave us another threat as well, so it was good to have him on the pitch and it gives us a very good player for the second half.”

McKenna explained why new signing Nathan Broadhead was left out of the 18 following his £1.5m move from Everton earlier this week.

“He has some tightness in his leg muscles,” he said. “He is a very important investment for us. Of course, we an immediate impact from him and George [Hirst] and the other players we’ve brought in, but he’s also a short, medium and long-term investment for the club, so we have to make sure we protect him properly.

“He’s had a really short week, traveled from North Wales a couple of times, new bed, all those situations, so it’s not unusual for him to have a bit of congestion.

“We’ve got to make sure we manage him in the right way so we can build his resilience and get him feeling really, really good on the pitch because we know if we can do that then we’ve got a very good player on our hands, so we have to make sure we do it with the right timing and not look at it in too short-term a way.”

Photo: TWTD

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Chappers421 added 18:48 – January 14

I really like Burgess as a defender, but the back 3 doesn’t work together. Would like to see Edmumson back, very good against Rotherham and always puts his body in front of the ball.

SoCalTownFan added 19:09 – January 14

With this manager we were supposed to shoot to the top of the Championship but he can’t even build a team that can hold on to a winning score at home against a nothing team from who knows where. Time after time we blow it in the last few minutes, it has become what will happen, not what can happen.

Simply not good enough. Even if that changes, we’re going to be lucky to get into the playoffs and lose in the first round

Sorry, McKenna has to go. It hasn’t worked.

Bert added 19:16 – January 14

Sounds like a few fans need to deal with their emotions!

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Sefton_Blue added 19:17 – January 14

SoCalTown fan McKenna must go? Today was not the best result, but we have lost 3 games all season! Who would you replace him with?

In Kieran we trust

Uppa Towen

Ipswich business added 19:18 – January 14

SoCalTownFan; I think it’s a little early to call for McKenna’s head. He’s only been here a little over a year. He has had three transfer windows, but the first one doesn’t really count as he had just arrived. Too many of the players are Cook/Lambert signings. If we don’t go up and are still not in the automatic promotion places next November then I can see him coming under real pressure.

blueinscotland added 19:18 – January 14

I’ve seen some dumb comments, but SoCal’s are as dumb as they come.

Who is Jimmy Juan added 19:21 – January 14

SoCalTownFan. Most of us are disappointed tonight and I fear we will slip out of the automatic promotion chase. But your comment is absolutely ridiculous. Even your quoted stats don’t point to the form being so poor as to justify sacking the manager, let alone his overall record, style of play, match day atmosphere. Have a beer, take a bath and find a new website.

car added 19:24 – January 14

socaltown fan,
McKenna go, no.
But I agree with the rest who tread water, I predict we will finish fourth,
You will be downvoted because you have to attack kmk, also they have blue tinted glasses,
Plymouth deserved more than a point,

blues1 added 19:27 – January 14

SoCal town fan. I guess that means so called da fuck. That has to be the most ridiculous, pathetic comment anyone has ever posted here. Pull yourself together.

jas0999 added 19:39 – January 14

Another good interview from KM in my opinion. Few could disagree.

… but this Broadhead situation. Couldn’t play because of muscle tightness, because he has traveled and has a new bed?! Seriously? Almost as good as years ago when Ian Marshall missed several games for hitting his knee on a supermarket trolley! Wow. Not a good first impression from Broadhead. Could do it with him today.

shaunmahony added 19:55 – January 14

Marked SoCal wrong – probably brain affected by such a ridiculous statement!

Blue_75 added 19:55 – January 14

Sorry blues1, accidentally tagged you – meant to do the opposite!

SoCalTownFan, why not focus on your team on the road!

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