'Today is what the club's all about' - Caretaker Klug delighted season ends on a positive note
PUBLISHED: 15:43 06 May 2018 | UPDATED: 18:35 06 May 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town caretaker boss Bryan Klug says the positive atmosphere which surrounded this afternoon's entertaining season-finale - a 2-2 home draw with Middlesbrough - is a true reflection of the club he knows and loves.
The Blues conceded a 96th minute goal to be denied all three points, but the crowd – boosted from near 20-year lows to around 20,000 in recent weeks – applauded the players off the field with a sense of new hope ahead of a summer of change.
Klug may have only taken four points from his four games in temporary charge, but he has got an injury-ravaged squad playing some bolder, more positive football that has been far easier on the eye.
Such a positive mood is in stark contrast to the often apathetic and sometimes poisonous feeling about the place during the final throes of Mick McCarthy’s increasingly stale five-and-a-bit year tenure.
Academy supremo Klug – who has made it very clear he is not interested in the job full-time – said: “I’m quietly quite pleased because it could have gone worse. That was always in the back of my mind. I’ll reflect in time and think it was a great experience, I’m sure.
“The main experience was for Gerard Nash and Chris Hogg (young coaches who have assisted him). The players have just shown their appreciation in the dressing room for those two. That can only be good for the club and if that’s good for the club then it makes me happy.”
He added: “I just want everyone to support this club. The club has great values. I’ve been brought up that way since 1978 – that was my first season at the football club. I think it’s a great football club and I just like people to behave and have pride in it.
“Today is what the club’s all about – people getting behind the team. You can see the team is not ready for certain challenges yet, but you can recognise the effort. I think that’s what the club should be about.
“I said that was how I was going to judge if we’d been successful. We’d have obviously liked to have more than four points out of 12, but going around the town and talking to people and seeing how the atmosphere is in the ground is good to see. It’s something to build on. I’ve spoken to the players about that.
“The spirit is always going to be there with this group. Adding some quality is the task for the new manager. I think there is something to work with.”
Reflecting on the game, in which Freddie Sears and Martyn Waghorn twice gave Town the lead, Klug said: “They couldn’t give us anymore could they? In all four games that’s been true. I know it didn’t always work out, but I thought the effort was fantastic. At the end of the day it would have been nice to win, but you can’t deny that Middlesbrough played their part in a fantastic game.
“Our goalie (Bartosz Bialkowski) had to make some fantastic saves, there were blocks, but we did at times play some good football – and that was the pleasing thing. We are asking the players to play with a bit of quality against a team who are very good.
“Obviously Freddie scoring early was a great thing for us, then I thought they got on top, albeit we had a threat. In the second half I thought it was quite end-to-end, with the majority of possession with Middlesbrough. We rode our luck at times.
“I couldn’t be more pleased for young Shane (McLoughlin) coming on and getting the penalty. Then it was just whether we could hang on. It was an extra 40 seconds for a booking and apparently the goalkeeper was wasting time but he (referee David Coote) should have booked him if he was – which I didn’t see. But that’s football. You take it.
“If you’d have said a month ago that we’d have ended up with that kind of game and that kind of atmosphere I’d have been delighted.”
Klug continued: “We encouraged them to start on the front foot and I think we did that. Freddie looked like the old Freddie and we are delighted by that. They are a good side though and they caused us a lot of problems. I had to shake (Adama) Traore’s hand at the end because he is probably one of the best players I have seen at this level. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as quick as him – probably only Kevin Beattie!
“It’s Fulham, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Derby in the play-offs which I’m really looking forward to watching. They are all good sides and that’s the challenge for us now – to reach those levels. I think we caused them a few problems today, but I wouldn’t say we are there yet.”
Asked if selecting loan duo Callum Connolly and Cameron Carter-Vickers for the season-finale ahead of homegrown players was an indication the cub would like them to stay, he replied: “We’d have them back straight away, of course we would.
“I don’t know if that will happen. I just wanted to put as much experience in as possible today. Those lads have done really well and deserved their chance to play in front of this crowd. Both personality and character wise you couldn’t wish for any better.
“As much as you like to see all the young players out there I thought they deserved their chance.”