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Interviews

Dons seek to maintain ‘ruthless edge’ for Ipswich

Q&A with first-team coach Rob Tuvey

13 April 2021

Following the swashbuckling performance at Accrington Stanley on Saturday, we will be aiming to pull further away from the relegation zone by getting the better of play-off hopefuls Ipswich Town tonight (6.30 pm kick-off).

First-team coach Rob Tuvey talked to us ahead of the big game about renewed confidence amongst the squad, getting the best from our attacking talents, and facing up to the challenge of Ipswich.

Q: Ask anyone about going to Accrington Stanley to get a result and it’s very difficult. How important was the 5-1 win with another pivotal week coming up?

A: “It was massive. The morale in the squad has been really good all the way through, but it was massive because it has given the players extra belief in what we have been doing. I think that elements of the performance have been there in the previous few weeks. If you looked at the stats for the Plymouth game they were exactly the same as they were on Saturday. The difference on Saturday was that we had that ruthless edge in both boxes. I think it’s something we’ve really worked hard on. The elements of all our performances came together on Saturday and we showed more of an edge in other aspects of our play. I thought we played really well in terms of picking up second balls and in both boxes we were ruthless, so we were really pleased with it.”

Q: Ayoub Assal said he was targeting a Ballon d’Or after Shrewsbury! What did he have to say after his performance against Accrington?

A: “You can see that he’s growing in confidence with every performance that he’s putting in at the moment and that’s really good. He’s becoming a bit of a marked man, which is what he had at Under-18s, and now he’s experiencing that in the first-team. That’s now for him to problem solve. We know Ayoub’s potential, and there’s more to come from him. I know that he will set himself individual targets, including setting goal targets from now until the end of the season, but overall it’s just about getting his development right in the long-term. Whether that means Ayoub getting a consistent run of games in the first-team, or maybe we take him out here and there. We have to make sure we are taking a look at the videos to see how he can still improve his game because he’s still a young player.”

Q: Does the fact that we’ve got Ayoub and Ollie Palmer in form increase the chances of Joe Pigott reaching the 20 goals mark for the season?

A: “I think people talk a lot about Joe’s goals, but his overall team play has been absolutely fantastic for us. The biggest thing that Robbo and me have realised watching Joe is that his work-rate for the team has gone up a notch. His work to take pressure off other people around him had gone unnoticed. Although he wasn’t amongst the goals for a few games, the work he did to create chances for others was up there. We are really happy with Joe. His overall game has improved and long may it continue.”

Q: We are focusing on Ipswich Town now with the first of two games coming up against them. Amazing to see a side that won the UEFA Cup in the past at this level, but as far as we are concerned is the philosophy still the same – that it’s 11 versus 11?

A: “Definitely – it’s always 80 per cent us and 20 per cent them. That never changes, regardless of who we are playing. Paul Cook has gone in and done a really good job there and they are really hard to break down. You can see that with their recent results. They don’t concede many goals. So it’s a tough game for us, but one that we are relishing really. We believe that we can go into any game at the moment and pick-up points. That hasn’t changed and it was the same before Accrington, and that mentality will be here for a long time after that as well. If we can match the performance that we put in on Saturday, and go again with a bit more of an extra edge, we are a match for anyone.”


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