Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has admitted that he is facing the most difficult challenge of his managerial career to date at the moment following the Tractor Boys’ 2-1 defeat to West Ham’s under-21s.
It has been a very tough start to the season for Ipswich in what was supposed to be the year where their fortunes were transformed in the third tier of English football.
The Tractor Boys have invested heavily into their squad over the summer and brought in a host of quality new signings on paper.
Some of those additions would have arguably even been considered to be of a level above League One before they agreed to make the switch to Portman Road.
Despite all the activity in the summer, Ipswich have yet to pick up a win in League One and they are still searching for their best formation and starting line-up.
In the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night, Cook made a number of changes to the side that were beaten 5-2 by Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
However, that did not prove to be enough to get them a much-needed win with them conceding two late goals to fall to a 2-1 defeat against West Ham’s under-21s.
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Speaking to Ipswich’s official club website following the latest setback for his side, Cook insisted that this is now the biggest test of his managerial career to date. While he also stated that he can fully understand the frustration from supporters.
He said: “It’s the biggest test of character in my managerial career. I’ve just told the players that and I don’t mind telling you that.
“I watch the game as a fan. Do I leave happy? No. I leave unhappy and frustrated. I’m in a fortunate position, though, where I can do something about it. The frustration is there for everyone, all of the staff included, we have to pick ourselves up and change the cycle.”
This is a major claim for Cook to make considering the amount of experience that he has as a manager, but it is one that at least shows that he understands the gravity of the situation facing him at Ipswich after a difficult start to the campaign.
The clear issue for Ipswich so far this season has been that they have perhaps tried to change too many things too quickly.
The host of new arrivals has led to a real confusion around the club over who should be considered their best eleven and what set up to use to get the best out of the new signings.
Cook has proven in his career that when he gets the right balance within his side, he can lead them onto a very successful campaign and secure the target of promotion for his club under the weight of expectation.
However, at the moment, Cook is struggling and he needs to be given time to turn things around.
Having said that there is only so much time that the new owners can afford him after they backed him heavily to make the right changes to the squad over the summer.