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 Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 14:10 GMT
Royle salutes Counago
Ipswich striker Pablo Counago
Counago has scored 13 goals this season
Ipswich Town boss Joe Royle saluted two-goal striker Pablo Counago after Saturday's 3-2 win over Walsall at Portman Road.

Counago opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time and added a second following a smart turn five minutes from the end.

"Pablo was outstanding," Royle said of the Spaniard. "He has improved tremendously over the past month and was a joy to watch.

"His all-round play and work for the team is impressive. When he gets the ball on the edge of the box the opposition have problems."

We can't concede goals like that and expect to win football matches

Colin Lee
Walsall boss

Royle was also delighted with his team's other scorer, Thomas Gaardsoe, who headed his third goal in as many games.

"Thomas has been doing extra work on his defensive headers with coach Tony Mowbray," the manager said.

"I challenged him to score with his head and how well he has responded."

Ipswich have now taken 11 points from the last 15 to begin climbing the table.

But Royle insisted: "We still have a lot to do to reach the play-offs.

"Most clubs say their fate depends on away form. In our case, it's our home form that will decide our destiny."

Saturday's result left Walsall with an away record showing five successive defeats and manager Colin Lee said: "We can't concede goals like that and expect to win football matches.

"It's individual frailty really, teams are not carving us up.

"I had a meeting with the players after the match to say that collectively we have got to be better.

"The way we have been conceding goals has been too soft."


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