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Ipswich boss George Burley
"We played very well."
 real 56k

Ipswich Town's Matt Holland
"The secret of our success this year has been the team effort"
 real 56k

Ipswich midfielder Martijn Reuser
"I think we are certainly now in Europe and maybe the Champions League."
 real 56k

Sunday, 22 April, 2001, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Ipswich's European joy
Gordon Strachan
Strachan is struggling to point Coventry to survival
Ipswich Town manager George Burley is looking forward to European football next season.

A 2-0 victory against Coventry - their penultimate home game of the season - all but ensures Ipswich passage to Europe.

Goals from Martijn Reuser and Jermaine Wright gave Ipswich the points and the club are still in contention for a Champions League place.

"This virtually clinches a Uefa Cup place," Burley confirmed. "It is an unbelievable achievement for a team that has just got promoted.

"I think the manner that we've done it in with the level of performances has been tremendous for the club.

"We've been in the top six for most of the season and we're third at the moment and we'll try to pick up as many points as possible to finish third.

Ipswich were last in Europe 18 years ago and in the decade to 1983 were involved on the continent in nine out of 10 seasons.

But Burley is daunted by neither Europe nor the club's European pedigree of yesteryear.

"As far as Europe is concerned, we're playing in one of the toughest leagues in the world and we're competing with the best already, so we'll look forward to it."

Embarassment

But while Burley ponders the challenge of Europe, Gordon Strachan faces more immediate problems as he attempts to pull Coventry clear of their perennial relegation struggle.

The Midlanders are now five points away from safety with only three games remaining.

"The game showed how good Ipswich are and how good a season they've had, as well as how poor we can be and how poor a season we've had," Strachan declared.

"Ipswich have done excellently and they can be as proud of their season as we can be embarrassed with ours.

"If we play like that again we're not staying up - it's as simple as that.

"We might as well pack it in and go now and save the supporters any money, any travelling or any enthusiasm."

Craig Bellamy had a chance to level the game when put through on goal but the Welsh international sent his effort wide and within a minute Ipswich were 2-0 up.

"On a lucky day, we'd have gone to 1-1. But if you live your life hoping that luck will get you through mistakes, you'll stay where you are or go in reverse," Strachan added.

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21 Apr 01 |  Football
Football's ups and downs
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