‘I am convinced the wins will come if we stay committed to what we are trying to do’ – Hurst
PUBLISHED: 16:41 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:27 23 August 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst is convinced that his favoured one up front system will eventually deliver wins.
The new Blues boss is still awaiting his first victory following Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat at Derby County, but says he has seen more than enough positives from the first five games in all competitions.
Summer signing Ellis Harrison has led the line in all four Championship matches thus far and, at times, looked a little isolated.
Asked if he was concerned by his team having scored just two goals in their last four outings, Hurst replied: “No. The reason being that Derby scored two goals from two shots and two deflected shots at that. Are they going to be concerned about their (lack of) goals? I’d say maybe not.
“We want to score goals, of course we do. Those stats can be misleading though. We have had more attempts than the opposition in our last four games. I think it was maybe even against Blackburn.
“That side of it is positive. The negative is we aren’t converting enough of those chances. We could have a million shots, but if they are all hitting the fans in the stand it counts for nothing.
“I don’t think, to be honest, from the games I’ve watched and the data I’ve looked at, there are as many attempts at goal in games as what sometimes people think. If one goes in the net then the attempts at goal stats get forgotten about.
“You need to score a goal to win a game, of course, and hopefully we can do that at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.”
Kayden Jackson, a £1.6m signing from Accrington Stanley, started as the lone striker at Exeter and has replaced Harrison in a like-for-like swap in the games against Rotherham, Aston Villa and Derby.
“I’m not saying it (two up front) won’t be the way always,” said Hurst. “There might be a time when we do look at that and it suits us better, but at the minute I don’t think, personally, there is a reason to change.
“When all is said and done we’ve got two real out-and-out strikers at the club at the minute. There’s maybe Freddie (Sears), I suppose, who would come in as an option to do that.
“I think a lot of our play has been pretty good, in all honesty. We do need to make sure we are getting bodies forwards in the box and when we get there we’ve got to try and work the keeper.
“I’ve watched Tuesday night’s game back in the cold light of day. On the night I was maybe thinking that Derby were more threatening than they actually were. Maybe that’s just the nature of just being involved and always hoping that they are not going to score.
“We were well in the game. It was more about some of the final little passes and taking a bit more care in certain situations. That’s certainly something than can be better rather than just having two strikers on the pitch.
“We all get obsessed with systems. I’ve done it before, play two strikers and then go through a spell where you don’t score. What do you do then? Put three on? Four on?
“I think at the minute it’s too early to be worrying about that.”
MORE: Hurst on injuries, transfers, facing his boyhood club and switching styles – watch back today’s press conference
He continued: “I guess it’s my job to decide which way to go. If I strongly believe that playing a different way will benefit us then I won’t be afraid to do that.
“But at the same we have to be conscious that if you’ve gone through pre-season playing a certain way, start the season off playing a certain way and trying to get across certain messages...
“What I don’t want to do is screw that all up, throw it away and think ‘right, let’s set off with another system’. What if that doesn’t work? I think we have to give things a chance.
“For me, and others might have a different view, but I think a lot of it is working. Goals change peoples’ views and opinions. As I said, we’ve had more shots than the opposition in most games. If we’d have scored a couple of deflected goals, and the points total was different, then 100% we wouldn’t be having this thought process or conversation.
“I don’t think there is enough wrong in our displays so far to really go too far away from what we are doing.”
Asked if he felt his team would secure more wins than defeats if they were to replicate their recent displays over the course of the campaign, the Blues boss said: “I believe so. I don’t think we’ve really been outplayed.
“Derby did have more possession, but watching it back I was happier than I was on the night. The organisation of the team and the discipline was there.
“There were times when positionally we could be more aggressive and that might give us better opportunities of winning the ball back or allow us to be a little more progressive quicker. That’s something Chris (Doig) has been through with the players today.
“I’m pretty happy with how the players have taken information on board though.”
He added: “This is when you’ve got to have a strong mind and be strong in your beliefs. Hopefully... I say hopefully, actually I am convinced that the wins will come if we stay committed to what we are trying to do.
“If we start wavering away from that then we’ll have an issue.
“And while some changes have occurred at Derby, their expectations this season are certainly a lot greater than ours. It’s certainly not time to worry too much or feel we need a sudden re-think tactically or with personnel.”