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339545 / Blog / Football / Ipswich Town / Leeds United

Paul Hurst will focus on job in hand despite Ipswich struggles

Paul Hurst will focus on job in hand despite Ipswich struggles


Paul Hurst is well aware that speculation about his future as Ipswich boss will continue to increase following the 2-0 defeat at Leeds.

The 44-year-old left Shrewsbury in the summer to succeed Mick McCarthy at
Portman Road and has endured a chastening start to life in the Sky Bet Championship.

Town are bottom of the table, four points from safety after winning just one of 14 matches, and were outclassed at Elland Road on Wednesday night.

Ipswich’s poor run of form has led to reports that Hurst could be sacked, but he is determined to turn things around.

Asked about the speculation, Hurst said: “I am not one to go searching for it, but I don’t lock myself in a room and don’t speak to anyone.

“Unfortunately those things are out there. Are they healthy? No.

“All you can do is focus on your job and do it to the best of your ability. It doesn’t help.”

Ipswich face Millwall, Preston and Reading – teams that languish in the bottom six -in their next three matches.

“We are in a pack of teams, currently, that whether we like it or not, are going to be fighting to stay in the division,” Hurst said.

“One team out of that will have a run and maybe one or two will drop back down. We have to hang in there for as long as possible until we gain more confidence.

“The next three games are big in the way that the teams are down in the lower region.

“It won’t be done and dusted either way after those three games. There is still a long way to go. We need to not let that gap get any bigger and hopefully reduce it.”

Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa hailed the return of Pablo Hernandez.

United had won just two of their last eight league matches without the Spaniard in their starting line-up due to injury.

But Hernandez returned with a bang, setting up goals for Kemar Roofe and Liam Cooper during an inspired display, as Leeds returned to the top of the Championship.

“He was very important in the game,” Bielsa said.

“He played as if he was not injured previously. He was very intelligent with his game.”

Bielsa felt Leeds were full value for the three points after improving in the second half.

“It was a necessary win, a deserved one too,” he said.

“Our team was constantly offensive and we had 10 clear chances to score a goal.

“In the second half we defended well. In the first half it was hard for us to get over the way the opponent played the game.”

Leeds’ victory was soured by an injury to defender Gaetano Berardi in the first half.

“I think it is a muscular injury,” Bielsa added.

“He fell in an uncoordinated way and provoked an important tension of the muscle, meaning he couldn’t finish the game.”

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