Soccer

‘It was an excellent performance’ – Kieran McKenna waxes lyrical over Ipswich

Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna hails his side’s victory at Sheffield Wednesday (Will Matthews/PA)
Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna hails his side’s victory at Sheffield Wednesday (Will Matthews/PA) Ipswich boss Kieran McKenna hails his side’s victory at Sheffield Wednesday (Will Matthews/PA)

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna was delighted with the performance and result after Conor Chaplin’s first-half goal gave them a 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday to keep up the pressure at the top of the table.

Chaplin scored the only goal of the game at the end of the first half and only a good performance from goalkeeper Devis Vasquez saved the home side from suffering a heavier defeat.

McKenna said: “I loved the game, the performance and of course the result. I thought this was a big one for us today and the season, not having managed to win here in the last couple of visits. It’s a barometer for us as a team.

“I thought it was an excellent performance in the first half. Coming back from international duty, I thought we imposed ourselves on the game and dominated the game.

“We created some big opportunities, pressed well and didn’t give them anything. It was an excellent performance.

“Probably on 65 minutes, we should have been 2-0 or 3-0 up.

“The last 20 minutes was really pleasing as well because when you don’t get the second goal, you have to see the game out in a different way and defend with organisation and resilience.

“To do that for the last part of the game, against Sheffield Wednesday and this crowd is a terrific thing for the boys to go through as well.

“I thought we had a couple of absolutely picture-perfect moves for us on what we like to do, going through the pitch quick and getting through teams and behind teams.

“It’s great that we got the goal before half-time because to go in at half-time 0-0 would have been really disappointing with some of the opportunities and positions that we got in.

“There was lots to enjoy about the performance, on and off the ball, really. We gave away very little.”

The result leaves Wednesday still searching for their first Sky Bet Championship win of the season and the players were booed off the pitch at the final whistle.

Manager Xisco Munoz issued an apology to the supporters after being disappointed with his team’s first-half performance in particular.

Munoz said: “All I can say is sorry because I’m very, very disappointed about the first 45 minutes.

“It is important the first 45 minutes. After that, the team had a good reaction, but not enough. I am very disappointed about the first half.

“We can speak about the positive things. It is true. We can speak about the reaction in the second half, but I don’t like what I see in the first half because we did not play at the level we are.

“This is one of the problems we have right now about the situation. We need to try and find a balance.

“We need to stay 90 minutes in the game, 90 minutes with the personality, 90 minutes with the concentration, 90 minutes with ambition.

“For me, we need to give for 90 minutes the same level and the same intensity.

“I can say ‘so sorry’ to the fans today because I was very, very frustrated about the first half.

“If we don’t change, it is impossible to take the points because the Championship is a very, very, very high level.”