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Home » McKenna: No One's Getting Carried Away – Ipswich Town News –

McKenna: No One's Getting Carried Away – Ipswich Town News –

Town boss Kieran McKenna says no one at Portman Road is getting carried away despite this afternoon’s 2-0 win at Accrington, a club record fourth away win at the start of a season, taking the Blues back to the top of League One.
Two goals from Conor Chaplin saw the Blues to the three points and back to the top ahead of Portsmouth on goal difference.
“It’s certainly not an easy place to come, not just for Ipswich Town,” McKenna said. “I think they’ve maybe lost one of their last 13 home games, something like that.
“We know the record is very good, you can understand why, they’re such a hard-working, aggressive team, they make the game very difficult.
“We were under no illusions about the challenge coming here and we knew what we’d have to do and we’re just pleased that we managed to execute that.
“I thought we grew into the game. I thought the start of the game wasn’t easy, tactically it was a little bit different than we were expecting and it took us maybe 15 or 20 minutes to get our in-possession game going and find the spare man.
“I thought we grew into it before the end of the first half when we started to connect through the pitch and the goal felt like it was coming before half-time and in the second half we managed to step it up again.
“We could have had the goal before the subs and we know at the moment we have really good options on the bench. Whoever starts, whoever comes on, we know there are goals there in the squad and we can make those changes and very often that can be decisive for us.”
There was some confusion about who scored the second goal with PA, who feed most national media outlets, crediting Wes Burns, while Chaplin confirmed that it was his.
“Conor’s claiming it and Freddie [Ladapo] thinks it hit him on the way in. Wes isn’t in the frame in there,” McKenna said.
“Conor obviously hit the strike, Freddie’s in position, he thinks it hit him. To me it doesn’t matter. I know the boys, of course, want the goal but even they know it doesn’t matter, the three points is what’s important.
“They’re all chipping in and contributing with goals and the only thing that matters is the result.
“In the Premier League there’s a goal panel that decides it, I’m not sure who’s going to decide that in the end but I couldn’t care less, to be honest, who scored it, it was a really decisive goal to close the game off, and just pleased that we got it.”
Accrington away fixtures have been a banana skin since Town dropped into League One, so it was important for the Blues to claim all three points today.
“I can’t speak too far back about seasons two, three of four years ago,” McKenna added. “I’ve seen the game last year and I knew how difficult it was going to be and the challenge that you’re going to face, certainly at this ground but even Accrington at Portman Road.
“I think it’s a difficult game for everyone, it’s not just a difficult game for Ipswich, their home record is consistently very good every season and when you see them here you can understand why.
“I think it is a big three points for the group, another big boost mentality-wise. It’ll be similar to the Burton one in knowing that you’ve been to a really tough place and withstood some pressure, but I thought today was much better than that game, I thought we controlled it much better and went about our business in a very professional way.”
Once again Town’s subs made an impression, not least Chaplin with his two goals.
“I think mentality-wise in the group everyone understands where we’re at and understands the benefit of having the options and is prepared to be a part and contribute in whatever way is required to support their teammates,” the Blues boss continued.
“Tactically the fact that we train how we do and we’re pretty consistent with the different roles, everyone is fully equipped with what they need to come on the pitch and do well and can slot straight into their slots, and also work in a couple of different slots like Marcus [Harness] did today in the first half.
“Credit to the mentality of the players and I think it also reflects on the work that we do that players are generally able to drop in pretty comfortably.”
Regarding the record of winning the first four games at the start of the season, McKenna added: “That’s pleasing, it’s not something that we spoke about but Ipswich has had some great football teams, so nice to have that record.
“But for us it will always be about the next game. We’re delighted for the players mostly because we get better away support than anyone in number and especially in voice and it’s a long way for them to come, especially with the current climate.
“We understand the sacrifices that they’re making, so the more that we can send them home happy, the better, and it’s nice for them to have a run of wins that they can go home and enjoy.”
Asked about Kayden Jackson starting as the lone central striker, McKenna explained: “He’s been doing fantastic when he’s come off the bench, we feel, having a really good impact.
“I think tactically the game in the first half was a little bit different than we expected to be fair.
“Usually they step on man-to-man right through the pitch and leave one of their centre-backs one-v-one in huge amount of space, so we were expecting a lot of space in behind and a lot of space down the sides of a centre-back.
“That didn’t materialise in the first half, so it wasn’t easy for Kayden and I thought he worked really hard. They left a spare man at the back and doubled-up on him.
“It made it difficult for him to get the space that he enjoys but he still worked ever so hard and put a couple of good balls across the box in the first half.
“And in the second it opened up a little bit more. They made the change at half-time, went back to their more normal pressing and marking strategy and the space started to open up for him in the middle of the pitch and on the last line.
“I think you saw with the chance Kayden had, the type of opportunities that we hoped he’d be able to get.
“But he’s been working really hard, doing well when he comes on, he’s an important member of the group and it’s great to have those options.”
McKenna says he started Cameron Burgess, along with Jackson and Janoi Donacien one of three ex-Accrington players, to deal with Stanley’s aerial threat.
“Cameron is playing very well every time he gets an opportunity at the moment,” he said. “I thought he did very well at Shrewsbury, did very well again the other night and did very well again today.
“He’s obviously very aerially dominant and we knew that was going to be a big part of the game, so that was the selection for today.
“There’s no issue with George [Edmundson]. We have five strong centre-halves and they’re all going to play their part and that was the selection today and I’m pleased to get the clean sheet.”
Gassan Ahadme was given his debut in the closing stages and McKenna says the deadline day signing from Burton now needs to spend time working with the rest of the group.
“He needs a little bit of time now to train with us and settle in and understand how we play, but that will come, hopefully pretty quickly. It was lovely to be able to get him on the pitch,” the Northern Irishman said.
“We were preparing him at 0-0 and then when we got the goal we felt comfortable with what we had, so it was very nice to get him on the pitch at the end.
“And Dominic [Ball] as well for his first league minutes, which was nice and important because he’s a really important member of this group.
“It’s nice to get the five subs on all contributing well. Greg did well when he came on as well. It keeps the squad nice and competitive.”
McKenna admits he’s pleased that the transfer window has now closed: “Yes, in some ways, to be honest. We felt like we had the majority of the squad together early in the window.
“We wanted to build on what we had last year. Always when the window’s open there are other things to do apart from the day job, which is preparing the team and developing and improving the players to win games.
“It’s nice to be able to focus on that. Of course, the work won’t stop, the club, the recruitment team will be working hard behind the scenes to be ready for the January window and the coaching staff will dip into that as well but certainly our focus for now will slide back towards 100 per cent on the next games.”
Town are back on top with 17 points from their first seven games, ahead of Portsmouth on goal difference.
But McKenna says everyone at Portman Road is keeping their feet on the ground: “I think it’s really important that we don’t look too far ahead. It’s the very first week of September. It’s really early on, there are 39 league games left, there’s a huge amount to go.
“We started positively, we had a really good pre-season and that set us up for a good start, but it’s still really early days. We’ll enjoy the three points as they come along but it will be all eyes towards Cambridge come the start of the training week.”
The longer the run goes on the more the expectancy among fans will grow. Will you need to put a lid on that?
“I think the fans are enjoying it at the moment, singing their songs and travelling in great numbers,” McKenna reflected.
“We don’t want to keep a lid on that, we want to keep giving them things to sing about and keep making them enjoy their home and away games for us.
“We know that internally no one’s getting carried away. It’s early days, momentum can change quickly but we want fans to be hopeful and enjoy it as they are.”

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Photo: TWTD


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