'I'll take my responsibility but the players have to take theirs as well' - Hurst after QPR loss
PUBLISHED: 19:04 20 October 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Paul Hurst insisted his players must stand up and take responsibility after an exchange of views in the dressing room following Ipswich Town's 2-0 home loss to Queens Park Rangers.
The Blues gifted their visitors two goals, as Dean Gerken pushed a corner into his own net before Tomer Hemed converted a penalty following an unnecessary lunge from Toto Nsiala just before the break.
With the Blues now bottom of the Championship and booed off at the end of a game in which the home support vented their frustration, Hurst was asked if he now fears for his job. He replied: “No, I think we’re kind of past that stage and I know what I’m doing and the effort (being put in).
“We’re working with a group of players that we have to try and get the best out of. Are we managing to do that? Clearly at the minute, no.
“We’re in this together. I’ll take my responsibility but the players have to take theirs as well and a lot of those, if they’re honest, will say they can do better than what they’re doing at the minute.
“That’s part and parcel of football. You’re reliant as a manager and when things are going well, the lads are playing well. When things are going badly, they’re not playing well.
“It’s trying to give them that confidence and that kick up the backside to do better, because we certainly need to.”
Asked for his thoughts on whether bringing in a director of football with experience at Championship level would help the Blues in their current situation, Hurst said: “I find the level thing not to be what this is about, that’s my personal view, although other people have opinions.
“If it was an experienced manager sat here or upstairs, does he suddenly stop the mistakes happening? I think if he did then it would be coincidence, rather than anything else.
“No, I don’t really see any reason to do that. I can’t see that happening.”
Hurst, his staff and the Ipswich players held a frank exchange of views in the dressing room after the game, where he stressed the Blues must stop making it hard for themselves with unforced errors.
“I was hoping, having had the victory against Swansea and getting that monkey off our backs, that we would have that confidence and belief to try and make things happen,” he said.
“I’ve opened it up in the dressing room and we’ve had a discussion and people have their own opinions. I’ve had my say in there, naturally, and one thing that came from the players is that we can’t keep making it hard with the mistakes we’ve making.
“Nobody goes out to make a mistake but it does make it a lot more difficult. When you are in that sort of run you don’t seem to get much the other way.
“It’s difficult to stop that from happening.
“Some (players) were measured, others were a bit louder and some looked as though they were in shock almost.
“Let’s not kid ourselves, we were second favourites to be relegated at the start of the season so we’re clearly not the best team in the Championship. We have to make it extremely difficult to the opposition, first and foremost, but we’re giving teams a helping hand.
“Even at Swansea, where we showed a much better reaction, we conceded a freak own goal that JD (Janoi Donacien) couldn’t score again if he tried.
“We have to change that and it’s the only the players that can do it. We have to do everything we can to get out of it.”
“It’s certainly the worst at home and probably overall as well,” Hurst continued.
“I think at Hull we had a spell where we were better and could easily have got back in the game. I understand why there was frustration today.
“At the end of the day I’m the manager and we all know the manager of the team get’s criticised – that’s part and parcel of the job and I can accept that.
“I’ve never been involved in a season, and we’re not even a third of the way through it yet, where there have been so many mistakes in a period of time. That’s as a manager and as a player, certainly from memory.
“That makes the task more difficult because goals change games, moods, outlooks and everything. There were 77 minutes still left after they scored so there’s still lots of time left. The penalty was a kick in the teeth right on half-time, not that we’d particularly shown signs of getting back at the game but while it’s 1-0 you have a changed.
“But that changed and we’ve seen a much different second half. I think the second half today naturally had some moments that were slightly better but nowhere near enough for us to realistically be getting back in the game.”
Hurst insisted his players should be able to handle any unrest coming from the Portman Road stands, adding it could be a lot worse if they were playing elsewhere.
“I’ve heard it a couple of times but nothing that players shouldn’t be able to handle. That was mentioned in the dressing room downstairs there that ultimately the lads who have been around a little bit know this crowd is far from the worst they could have in terms of adding pressure and being really disgruntled.
“They show that they are but show it in a certain way, not like where they do at some places. So if they can’t play here then I think they will struggle pretty much anywhere.
“They are willing the team to do well and the players to do well.”
Next up is a trip to Leeds, where Hurst wants to see a reaction.
“We’ve got to try and make sure it doesn’t but it certainly doesn’t put us in the best of spirits going to Leeds on Wednesday,” he said.
“Ultimately that’s football and there will be lots of teams, good and bad, who will have days like today and have bad performances where things aren’t right.
“So it’s about how we react to that and I don’t think, genuinely, even looking at the table and results, that we’ve been that bad that often.
“I’ve said about coming out on the wrong side of things so today was disappointing.”