Ipswich must improve set-play defending - McKenna

Published on: 27 November 2023

Kieran McKenna has taken charge of Ipswich in 101 games since being appointed as head coach

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna says his team must improve their defending from set plays after their 12-match unbeaten Championship run was ended.

West Brom defender Darnell Furlong scored with an early header from a corner and Town went on to lose 2-0.

It was the fifth successive league game in which McKenna's side had conceded a goal inside the first 15 minutes.

"That's three games in a row, we've conceded (from) a set play," McKenna told BBC Radio Suffolk.

"I don't think we've conceded (from) a set play, from a corner or wide free-kick, in the league until that point."

He continued: "The goal comes at the start again, it's not something we're ignoring.

"I could feel a really good atmosphere about us at the start of the game, but the first corner they get, we don't defend it well enough and they score a goal - but if that corner had come in the 35th minute, we still would have had to defend it better."

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Despite the defeat, Town's first in an away league game since January, they remain second in the table, a healthy seven points clear of Leeds United in third.

And they have an early chance to return to winning ways when they face Millwall at Portman Road on Wednesday.

"We haven't lost many games, that's something to be proud of - but we're going to lose some in this division, that's for sure," said McKenna.

"It's going to be about what we take from each defeat and how we respond in the next game.

"We don't want to lose, but the players gave everything again, and we'll be stronger for it."

Striker George Hirst said Ipswich would certainly not be taking their league position for granted in the busy period to the end of the year, with the East Anglian derby against Norwich, a trip to Leeds and the visit of leaders Leicester among eight matches to be played.

"It's a lot of hard work that's got us here and it's going to be a lot of even harder work that keeps us there," Hirst added.

"Those are the games you want to be playing, and the teams you want to be playing against - they're all going to mean something and that makes it even bigger."

Source: bbc.com

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