Soccer

It was an excellent performance – Kieran McKenna delighted with Ipswich victory

The result drew Ipswich level on points with second-placed Leeds, but sit below the Yorkshire outfit due to an inferior goal difference.

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna was delighted with his side’s performance against Birmingham
Kieran McKenna Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna was delighted with his side’s performance against Birmingham (Joe Giddens/PA)

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna said his side were “excellent” in their 3-1 victory over Birmingham.

Conor Chaplin opened the scoring for the Tractor Boys, but Birmingham equalised in the closing minutes of the first half through Jordan James.

Jeremy Sarmiento put the Town back ahead before Omari Hutchinson wrapped up the three points late on.

The result drew Ipswich level on points with second-placed Leeds, but have an inferior goal difference after the Yorkshire outfit defeated table-toppers Leicester on Friday evening.

The visitors, without manager Tony Mowbray due to medical treatment and who was a key member of the Town’s promotion winning campaign in 1999-00 campaign, fell down three places to 18th spot.

McKenna said: “I thought it was a really good performance and I enjoyed it, and I was pleased with all aspects of it.

“We were really good off the ball, aggressive against a good footballing team, and didn’t really give them any confidence to grow in the game.

“We attacked well, had a threat throughout the game, but found control in the right moments and appropriately patient in the second half.

“It was an excellent performance and a really good day.

“I thought we started the game excellently and we didn’t let up too much in the first half.

“Of course Wes (Burns) going off – that’s something you have to respond to – and then Omari (Hutchinson) comes on and does great and I thought it was a really good start to the game.

“I thought that it was another good performance. We caused a change in their shape they went with, they tried to break the flow and I felt like the goal was coming.

“We knew we had players on the bench who could impact, but even the players on the pitch at that time I shared their belief that if we kept doing the right things the goal would come.”

Assistant manager Mark Venus, who is in charge in Mowbray’s absence, admitted it was a “tough afternoon” for his side.

He said: “It was a tough afternoon to a point. We got a slow start and then got back in the game and I thought for the second half for a period we sort of contained them without really threatening, but we didn’t have enough moments from our team.

“We put a lot of work in to contain Ipswich, but there was not enough of those moments.”

The former Ipswich defender added: “I think they (Ipswich) have to be given a bit of credit on the day, I think they played really well. They were on the front foot, they had a lot of purpose, they have a big pot at the end of the season if they can achieve it and they have taken three teams right to the wire.

“We have to maintain our league position and league status this season and that is the aim and that is the aim for the next 13 games. We have to pick the points up, which we need to get to that point.”