Nicolas Jackson appeared to question Chelsea's decision to part company with Mauricio Pochettino as Cole Palmer paid thanks to the Argentine.

On Tuesday, Chelsea announced Pochettino had left the club by mutual consent after just one season in charge, which ended in a sixth-place Premier League finish.

Several pundits expressed shock at the decision, after an upturn saw Chelsea recover from a poor start to the season to clinch European qualification.  

Only four teams – Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal and Newcastle United – had a better expected goals (xG) figure than Chelsea (75.3) in the Premier League in 2023-24, while only three – City, Liverpool and Arsenal – had more shots on target than the Blues (215).

From March 11 onwards, Chelsea's return of 27 points was only bettered by eventual champions Manchester City, who took 28 in that span.

A number of Chelsea players appeared to be surprised by Pochettino's exit when reacting on social media, most notably Jackson.

Alongside an image of himself alongside Pochettino, Jackson wrote on Instagram: "Love you coach. Wish we could stay together more.

"But may God continue to bless you and your family. Thanks for the advice and support, you're a true lion and a fighter, wish you all the best."

Leading goalscorer Palmer, meanwhile, paid a heartfelt tribute to Pochettino in an Instagram post of his own.

"Gaffer, thank you for everything you have done for me and making my dreams come true," the England international wrote. "All the best."

Former Blues captain John Terry, meanwhile, said he was "gutted" to see Pochettino depart.

Posting to his Instagram story, Terry added: "I just hope we don't sign or sell any players until we get a manager in."

Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna and Brentford's Thomas Frank have been touted as possible successors, with co-owner Todd Boehly reportedly looking to hire a progressive young coach to work within Chelsea's existing structure. 

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is blocking out speculation linking him with the vacant posts at Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion.

McKenna has earned plaudits after leading Ipswich to back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, ending the Tractor Boys' 22-year exile from the top flight.

His outstanding work has led to suggestions he is a target for other clubs, with Brighton and Hove Albion being linked with a move after Roberto De Zerbi left the club.

On Tuesday, meanwhile, reports suggested he was a possible contender to take over at Chelsea after Mauricio Pochettino surprisingly left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent.

McKenna saw off competition from Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta, Sean Dyche, Unai Emery and John Mousinho to win the League Managers Association's Manager of the Year award on Tuesday, and his focus is simply on celebrating Ipswich's achievements.

"When you do well as a manager, or as a player, there's always going to be speculation," McKenna said at Tuesday's awards ceremony.

"What we've achieved is no ordinary thing so of course there's going to be speculation. That's not where my focus is, to be honest.

"It's been a wonderful couple of years and tonight is about celebrating that. Everyone's looking forward to next season and I know the club's going to be in a really good place."

McKenna has also been tentatively linked with a return to Manchester United, where he spent five years as a coach with the academy and the first team, as Erik ten Hag's position continues to be questioned.

Former Red Devils boss Alex Ferguson presented McKenna with his award on Tuesday, which he described as "one of the most humbling and proudest moments" of his life. 

"It's the best thing in the world and I've had good experience as a first-team coach, but to be a manager in the Premier League and go up against great managers is going to be a great challenge and something I can't wait for," he added.

Ipswich Town took a huge step to Premier League promotion after Cameron Burgess snatched a second-half winner in Tuesday's 2-1 victory over Coventry City.

Kieran McKenna's side require just one point from their final Championship game against League One-bound Huddersfield Town to go up, after a decisive victory at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Kieffer Moore blasted in an eighth-minute opener for the visitors after Wes Burns' crafty cutback pass, easing the pressure on Ipswich and dampening the top-two hopes of third-placed Leeds United.

Haji Wright levelled in the second half, only for Burgess to squeeze a winning goal past Bradley Collins five minutes later, putting Ipswich on the brink of top-flight football for the first time since their relegation in 2002.

A draw against Huddersfield, who are 23rd and three points adrift of safety, would secure promotion at Portman Road, marking just the fourth instance of back-to-back promotions in the Premier League era.

Having managed to climb out of League One, McKenna's entertaining side would join Watford, rivals Norwich City and Southampton as the only sides to achieve the feat.

Data Debrief: Ipswich end winless run at perfect time

Prior to this game, only five teams had won fewer points in the Championship than Ipswich's six since the beginning of April (W1 D3 L1).

Yet McKenna's men refused to let their top-flight push derail as the Tractor Boys ended a four-game winless run to move within touching distance of history.

The battle for automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship continues to intensify as Leeds moved into the top-two with a nail-biting win over Middlesbrough on Monday.

Leaders Leicester sit just two points ahead of third-placed Ipswich and the Foxes take on Southampton tonight, where defeat for fourth-placed Saints would all but end their automatic hopes.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the remaining weeks of an increasingly tense Championship run-in.

Leicester (1st, played 43, 91 points, +42 goal difference)

Run-in: Southampton (h), Preston (a), Blackburn (h).

Once seemingly certain to return to the top flight after a single season in the second tier – Enzo Maresca’s side were 17 points clear of Leeds – Leicester have suffered a crisis of confidence just at the wrong time.

A 2-1 home defeat by Middlesbrough on February 17 launched a run of 10 league games culminating in a 1-0 reverse at Plymouth which saw them lose six times and collect just 10 of the 30 points available.

However, a 2-1 victory over play-off chasing West Brom took them back to the top of the table and with two of their last three fixtures at the King Power Stadium, they will hope they can make home advantage count.

Leeds (2nd, played 44, 90 points, +43 goal difference)

Run-in: QPR (a), Southampton (h).

As with Leicester, Leeds have suffered a wobble at the most inopportune moment.

A 2-1 defeat at Coventry on April 6 was their first in the league since the turn of the year and, having seen Sunderland leave Elland Road with a point three days later, Daniel Farke’s men lost on home soil for the first time this season last Saturday when Sammie Szmodics fired Blackburn to victory in West Yorkshire.

But they came out on the right end of a seven-goal thriller in Teesside on Monday, claiming a 4-3 win over Middlesbrough that Farke will hope can be a springboard for their final two fixtures.

Ipswich (3rd, played 43, 89 points, +32 goal difference)

Run-in: Hull (a), Coventry (a), Huddersfield (h).

Ipswich’s unlikely tilt at back-to-back promotions has hit the buffers in recent weeks after a remarkable run of nine wins in 10 Championship outings was brought to an end by derby rivals Norwich.

A 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road on April 6 has been followed by home draws with Watford and Middlesbrough and Town must rediscover the form which earned manager Kieran McKenna the accolade of Championship Manager of the Season on Sunday evening if they are to reach the top flight.

However, all three of their remaining opponents still have something to play for, with Hull and Coventry on the fringes of the play-off race and Huddersfield battling desperately to avoid the drop.

Southampton (played 43, 84 points, +29 goal difference)

Run-in: Leicester (a), Stoke (h), Leeds (a).

Southampton’s bad patch arrived in February, when they lost to Bristol City, Hull and Millwall either side of a 2-0 success at West Brom in the space of 12 days.

A 3-0 win over Preston a week ago was their third in succession but despite taking the lead at Cardiff on Saturday, the Bluebirds claimed a last-gasp victory and Saints are now six points adrift of the top two.

How they fare against Leicester may go a long way to deciding their fate, while a visit to Leeds on the final day of the season promises to be a must-watch.

Portsmouth sealed a Sky Bet Championship return on Tuesday with a 3-2 win over Barnsley and several other teams still have plenty to play for as another enthralling domestic season draws to a close.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the promotion and relegation issues up and down the country.

Premier League

Neutrals are gripped by the first three-way title race in the top flight for a long time. Another twist occurred last weekend as champions Manchester City returned to the summit on Saturday, before Arsenal and Liverpool suffered shock home defeats on Sunday. With six games left, Pep Guardiola’s side hold a two-point lead over the Gunners and Reds.

At the other end, an intriguing relegation battle continues – on and off the pitch. Sheffield United, Burnley and Luton occupy the bottom three spots and, while the race appears almost run for the Blades and the Clarets have an uphill task to stay up, the Hatters’ survival hopes remain alive. Nottingham Forest and Everton – in 17th and 16th, respectively – are within touching distance, as both clubs wait to learn their fates after appealing against points deductions over breaches of financial rules.

Championship

It has been a rollercoaster ride for supporters’ of Ipswich, Leicester, Leeds and Southampton this season, especially in recent weeks. With only a handful of matches left, Kieran McKenna’s Tractor Boys are top on 89 points, with the second-placed Foxes a point behind with a game in hand. However, that fixture is against fourth-placed Saints, who are not out of the top-two race themselves with a four-point deficit to previously runaway leaders Leicester. Leeds sit third, with all four still in with a shot of automatic promotion spot.

Rotherham’s relegation to League One has already been confirmed, but two more spaces need to be finalised. Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield are in the bottom three on 44 points each. Birmingham sit one point above the two Yorkshire clubs, while Stoke, QPR, Plymouth and Blackburn would not consider themselves safe as they remain below the 50-point mark.

League One

 

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After Pompey claimed the title on Tuesday, all eyes are on which club will be runners-up. Derby are second on 86 points with a three-point gap to Bolton, but Peterborough, with a game in hand, cannot be ruled out despite a six-point deficit to the second-placed Rams. Everything could be settled this weekend.

Carlisle are already consigned to the fourth tier and Fleetwood’s defeat at Peterborough left them six points from safety with only two games to go. Port Vale are 22nd on 40 points, while Cheltenham are 21st on 41 points, but crucially have a match in hand. It means Burton, especially, and Cambridge are still looking over their shoulders, with the former only two points above the bottom four and the latter holding a five-point advantage along with a game in hand.

League Two

Mansfield joined Stockport and Wrexham in clinching promotion to League One on Tuesday, but there is still one relegation spot to be determined. Colchester’s win over Grimsby ended the survival hopes of Forest Green and gave the victors a four-point advantage over 23rd-placed Sutton along with a game in hand. Sutton need to win their last two matches and hope both Grimsby and Colchester fail to win again this season.

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna was “proud” of his team’s performance in the thrilling 1-1 home draw with Middlesbrough which put them one point clear at the top of the Championship.

Town went into the game looking to take advantage after seeing automatic promotion rivals Leicester and Leeds lose to Plymouth and Blackburn respectively.

Boro took the lead after 20 minutes through a header from Emmanuel Latte Lath but Town struck back 10 minutes later when Massimo Luongo crashed home a corner by Leif Davis.

Ipswich goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky produced two wonderful saves, firstly from Isaiah Jones and then Matt Clarke, to keep the scores level.

McKenna said: “Frustration isn’t my feeling at the moment. Maybe it will be tomorrow but at the moment it’s pride around the performance.

“I thought it was a brilliant game, I thought the performance was excellent against a good side and I was really proud of how we went about our business really.

“I thought we played brilliant, we played confident, tactically it was a really good battle, we created plenty of chances to win the game and I thought it was a really good performance.

“Over the course of the last two games could we have had an couple of extra points, for sure we could we have lost today, Vaz (Hladky) produces a great save at the end.

“The players have given everything and what’s more pleasing for me is the performance and at the end of the season we will get as many points that we get, I don’t think they are going to leave an ounce of effort out there.

“I really liked the way we went about our business and at the end of the day we pick up a point from a really good performance and we have a little bit of recovery now and look forward to last week and three great games.”

Middlesbrough head coach Michael Carrick was happy with a share of the spoils in the end.

He said: “It’s a tough place to come and you can see they’re a really good team, confidence is high and they’re in a really good place.

“Their record here is really good so it was always going to be challenging to come here, which makes it probably a decent point in isolation.

“But, for us, we came here to win and we wanted to win, so it’s a bit of mixed feelings really overall.

“We know what we needed [as far as play-off hopes were concerned]. It doesn’t change what we do for the next game, though.

“We want to finish the season strongly and continue to do the right things. We’re on a decent run at the moment and we want to try and keep building on that. The aim is to just try and keep winning football matches really.

“There are a lot of good things again. There are things we need to improve upon and be better at but there are some good things that we can take from it.

“We’ve been doing that for a number of games now which is pleasing. But we still want to be coming to places like this and winning. We tried to but we just didn’t quite pull it off.”

Kieran McKenna was happy to draw on the positives and praised Ipswich’s focus even though they missed out on the chance to go top of the Sky Bet Championship following a stalemate at home to Watford.

Town were eager to bounce back from Saturday’s 1-0 loss at bitter foes Norwich and had watched promotion rivals Leicester and Leeds drop points on Tuesday.

It meant victory for Ipswich would have sent them to the summit but a dominant first-half failed to bring a crucial opener with Nathan Broadhead firing against the inside of the post after 36 minutes before Daniel Bachmann denied Kieffer Moore’s flying header just before the break.

While home substitute Ali Al-Hamadi had a late effort deflected wide, Ipswich struggled to fashion chances in the second period and almost lost in stoppage-time when Edo Kayembe’s clearance from inside his own half nearly caught out Vaclav Hladky.

McKenna’s side instead had to settle for a point, which at least moved them back above Leeds with four matches to go and Middlesbrough the next visitors to Portman Road on Saturday.

“First half we created a couple of what would have been really good goals for us but it just wasn’t our night in terms of going into the back of the net,” McKenna reflected.

“We take the positives from the performance. I thought you could see in our performance in the first half, we played with no tension, no worries.

“I thought it was a really good performance and it didn’t look like it was the 41st game or the 14th game. We just played as us and that’s what we want to do.

“Our focus is just on the next game. Every game is really hard-fought, every point is hard won and we’ve had to fight really hard to win one tonight.

“We know it’ll take a hell of an effort and a hell of a performance to get anything on Saturday as well, so that is where our focus is.

“Not on anyone else or the table, it is just on trying to get ready for the next game and it certainly takes that in this division and this group have done that really well.”

Tom Cleverley expressed his pride after he watched Watford extend their unbeaten run to five games under his short managerial tenure.

The Hornets have now claimed draws with Leeds, West Brom and Ipswich since Cleverley was appointed interim boss on March 9 and targeted three points from this weekend’s trip to Southampton.

Cleverley added: “I’m incredibly proud of the group.

“Three clean sheets in five and that’s a solid foundation moving forward.

“We’re setting small markers down with the draw against Leeds, the draw away at West Brom and now the draw away at Ipswich.

“Now we want to put one big marker down with a win away at Southampton on Saturday and that is the challenge we face.”

On Kayembe’s 95th-minute lobbed effort, Cleverley admitted: “That would have been the best goal I’ve ever been present for.”

Ipswich missed out on the chance to take over at the Sky Bet Championship summit but did move up to second after they were held to a goalless draw at home to Watford.

After promotion rivals Leicester and Leeds dropped points on Tuesday, victory for Kieran McKenna’s men would have been the perfect tonic to Saturday’s 1-0 loss at bitter foes Norwich.

However, Tom Cleverley’s Watford proved stubborn opponents and Town had to settle for a point, which does lift them above Leeds with four games left in the battle to secure automatic promotion.

Ipswich were eager to bounce back from their East Anglian derby defeat and McKenna made four changes but watched his team almost fall behind after eight minutes.

Watford youngster Yaser Asprilla tried his luck from by the halfway line although, much to the relief of goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky, it sailed a few inches over.

Town dominated possession and created their first chance when the recalled Harry Clarke burst forward and passed into Kieffer Moore, who teed up Nathan Broadhead but his low effort was saved by Daniel Bachmann.

Moore went close himself after 28 minutes when Kayden Jackson raced away down the right but his cross was swept wide by the Bournemouth loanee.

Ipswich impressively fashioned another chance eight minutes later when Hutchinson passed out wide to Broadhead, whose left-footed strike hit the inside of the post and rolled across the goal line to safety.

The Hornets were on the ropes and the next opportunity for the hosts was inadvertently blocked by Broadhead, who got in the way of a Jack Taylor shot.

After Bachmann had watched Ipswich lay siege to his goal, the Austrian stopper sprung into action three minutes before half-time with a superb save to deny a flying header by Moore from Clarke’s cross.

It ensured it was goalless at the break but Watford provided a reminder of their threat early in the second period when Asprilla sent in a dipping effort that Hladky could only parry away.

McKenna had seen enough and made a triple substitution with 26 minutes left.

The tension around Portman Road was palpable and gaps started to open up but Hladky thwarted Jamal Lewis’ low effort before Ipswich captain Sam Morsy slid in to deny Ismael Kone’s follow-up.

Town substitute Ali Al-Hamadi had a late shot deflected wide before Watford almost stole the points but Hladky batted away Edo Kayembe’s speculative effort deep into stoppage-time.

Norwich head coach David Wagner heaped praise on his side’s supporters after watching his side beat Ipswich 1-0 to boost their play-off bid – and dent their neighbours’ chances of automatic promotion.

Wagner and his players felt the wrath of the fans during a poor run earlier in the season but Carrow Road was rocking in the lunchtime kick-off as the Canaries reeled off an eighth straight home win thanks to a first-half strike from Marcelino Nunez.

“The atmosphere in the ground was fantastic, the best since I have seen here, and you could see the affect it had on the players,” said Wagner.

“The fans were outstanding – and so were my team. It was a top performance and the only complaint I could make was that we should have put it to bed earlier.

“Every player put in a good shift to get the win – and to keep a clean sheet against a side who scored many goals was very pleasing.

“From where we were earlier in the season, 17th in the table, to where we are now speaks volumes about the spirit and togetherness in the squad.

“They are a group who can achieve something special, especially with the sort of backing we got today.

“But while we will all enjoy this we know there is another big game coming up on Tuesday (at Sheffield Wednesday) and that will be our focus from tomorrow.”

A game of few clear-cut chances was settled by a long range free-kick from Nunez six minutes before the break.

Sam Morsy brought down the lively Josh Sargent in a central position some 30 yards out to set up what looked like nothing more than a half chance. But the Chilean midfielder had other ideas and curled the ball around a token wall and into the back of the net via an upright.

Norwich missed a number of chances to stretch their lead on the break in the second half while Ipswich struggled to create all afternoon.

Conor Chaplin and substitute Ali Al-Hamadi both missed late second-half chances but Norwich keeper Angus Gunn was largely untroubled.

Town manager Kieran McKenna admitted his side were below their best as their long run without an East Anglian derby win continued.

“We weren’t at the level required to win the game and I don’t think Norwich were at their best either. But, to be fair to them, they found a way to win the game,” he said.

“I would certainly have liked to have seen us create more chances and be better on the ball but it was our third game in a busy week and it doesn’t always go the way you want it to.

“I know how much this one means to the supporters and all I can say is lessons were learned and we’ll be stronger for the experience. We have now got two home games coming up which is good.

“I thought we looked comfortable early on and there wasn’t much in the game and then Norwich had a spell of 20 minutes when they got a lot of free-kicks and scored from one of them.

“The decision for the challenge by Morsy looked a marginal one but the decision that annoyed me was the free-kick for (Axel) Tuanzebe’s challenge on Sargent which started it all off. That wasn’t a foul, not even marginal, and it changed the complexion of the game.”

Ipswich climbed to the top of the Championship table after Conor Chaplin’s 13th goal of the season gave them a 1-0 win at Blackburn.

Buoyed by Leicester’s defeat in the early kick-off, Kieran McKenna’s men flew out of the traps and made their early dominance count through Chaplin’s well-worked goal, though Blackburn’s Aynsley Pears ought to have done better.

But this barely told the story of the game as the struggling hosts, still looking for their first win under John Eustace, were more than a match for their visitors and will feel aggrieved to have had goals in either half contentiously ruled out.

The league’s top-scorer Sammie Szmodics missed a glorious chance 11 minutes from time, but Ipswich dug in admirably to notch their eighth win in nine that sees them hold a one-point advantage over Leeds at the summit.

Ipswich should have had an early penalty when Callum Brittain tugged Nathan Broadhead back but referee Stuart Atwell waved play on.

They hit the front in the ninth minute when Chaplin sprayed the ball out wide for Leif Davis and ran into the box to meet the defender’s low cross before letting fly with a first-time shot that found the bottom corner, but Pears somehow let the ball squirm through him.

The Tractor Boys did not let up and Kieffer Moore put a near-post header over soon after, while Chaplin fashioned a chance with a silky first touch but his left-foot effort was saved.

Rovers thought they had equalised on the half hour when a flowing move ended with Tyrhys Dolan’s cut-back finding Joe Rankin-Costello who slotted home via a deflection but Szmodics was either adjudged to be obstructing the goalkeeper or deemed to be the one who deflected the ball.

Ipswich came out after the break with renewed purpose and Chaplin hammered a shot into the side netting within 20 seconds of the restart before Pears parried his curling effort a minute later.

Blackburn showed signs of life on the hour when Vaclav Hladky parried a cross into the path of Ben Chrisene but Chaplin got a vital touch before he could pull the trigger, and moments later, Szmodics whipped a first-time shot goalwards that Hladky tipped over the bar.

The home fans were incensed again in the 74th minute when Andrew Moran smashed in off the underside of the bar after Hladcky dropped a cross under pressure from Scott Wharton but the referee deemed it a foul from the Rovers defender.

Hladcky made a terrible error and outstanding save in the same move in the 79th minute as his pass six yards out was blocked by Szmodics but the Czech stopper made a miraculous recovery, diving full stretch to tip the shot wide and Ipswich held on.

Kieran McKenna hailed Ipswich’s defensive display after they beat Blackburn 1-0 to climb to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.

Ipswich stamped their authority on the game early and were ahead in the ninth minute when Conor Chaplin’s first-time strike squirmed through Aynsley Pears.

Rovers were second best in the first half, though Joe Rankin-Costello had a goal disallowed due to Sammie Szmodics being in an offside position – their second ruled out for offside.

Blackburn’s frustrations continued as Andrew Moran’s goal was disallowed for a Scott Wharton foul, and Ipswich dug in to claim a vital win. After their first Ewood win since 1996, McKenna felt his side displayed both sides of their game.

He said: “Fantastic result, you have to enjoy every win you get in the Championship. The performance was mixed. I thought first half we started ever so well, big credit to the way we came out, especially after international duty, we imposed ourselves really well on the game.

“Gave the opposition problems and controlled most of the first half. Blackburn had a counter-threat and they set up to give us problems through the middle of the pitch so we didn’t have it all our way.

“We came out at the start of the second half and done well. As the second half went on, it became tough. We knew there’d be tiredness in the group, and it became a challenging last 30 minutes. We worked really hard, we defended our box really well, blocked crosses, defended set plays well, blocked shots.

“Didn’t control the game as we would have liked but sometimes you have to show that other side and I thought we did that really well.”

Rovers are winless in nine but John Eustace was proud of his side’s effort and disappointed the disallowed goals didn’t count.

He said: “Frustrated but very proud as well. I thought the effort of the group was outstanding. After the week we’ve had with the injuries and bit of sickness in the camp as well, to have possibly four starters out of the XI, I thought the effort was outstanding.

“We’ve gone up against a very good team and played very well and we’re disappointed not to get anything out of the game.

“I thought the referee had a fantastic view of the goal from Joe. Sammie obviously wasn’t in front of the goalkeeper so I thought that was really disappointing we didn’t have that goal.

“I thought Scott’s header was a fair challenge on the goalkeeper and the offside was tight but we’ve shown very good signs, the team are playing very well. It’s important we don’t get too disappointed about the result. We’ve got to brush ourselves off and go again.”

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna said his side’s performance was “outstanding” from the first minute to last in their 6-0 mauling of Sheffield Wednesday.

Omari Hutchinson and substitute Ali Al-Hamadi both struck twice while Nathan Broadhead and Cameron Burgess were also on the scoresheet as the Tractor Boys recorded their biggest win of the season.

The victory also saw Ipswich climb back into second place in the Championship, two points ahead of Leeds who host Millwall on Sunday.

McKenna said: “I thought it was an outstanding performance from pretty well first minute to last minute in all phases of the game. We showed our identity, our style, our culture, the group.”

“It was probably the relentless of it. I think some of the football was outstanding, our pressing against a well set-up team but probably the way we kept going because at 3-0 sometimes the second half can be flat and the game can fizzle out, but we came into today with a real determination to deliver a performance first and foremost, not to think about the scoreline, the points or anything like that.

“I think the mentality to keep going in the way that we did was really very, very good.”

Hutchinson, who McKenna said was “excellent”, opened the floodgates in the 15th minute and strikes from Burgess and Broadhead saw Ipswich firmly in control at half-time.

Hutchinson added a subline fourth soon after the restart before Al-Hamadi netted two late goals to wrap up an emphatic win.

For Wednesday, a second successive defeat – having previously clamed five wins in six – leaves them still deep in trouble near the foot of the table, but it might have been a different story had they made the most of early chances for Anthony Musaba and Djeidi Gassama.

Owls manager Danny Rohl, whose side are two points from safety, wants the defeat against a team that was “on fire” to be a lesson for the Yorkshire outfit

He said: “A big defeat and a bit disappointed.

“When I come to such a place I never go and say I’m scared of any opponent, I always want to try something.

“I think today (showed) why we are in our position and Ipswich are where they are.

“The whole picture from Ipswich today, the facilities, the pitch, the team, I think they chose a big, big direction where Ipswich want to go.

“I think this is good to see and I look at the development of this team here and of this manager who I have a big, big respect for, it’s outstanding.

“For us it’s about learning from this game.

“We come here and it was the reason why I played maybe our best four offensive players in front instead of a back five because I want to be brave, I want to create good, good ball-winning situations, to have good transition moments.

“But I think they (Ipswich) were on fire and really deserved the whole picture today.”

Kieran McKenna highlighted “erratic” time-keeping in the Championship as Ipswich suffered stoppage-time despair with a 2-1 defeat at Cardiff.

Ipswich appeared to be heading back to second spot after Kieffer Moore’s fine finish against his old club 11 minutes from time.

But Ryan Wintle equalised in the fifth added minute and it got worse for Ipswich as Cardiff claimed a fourth successive win.

With eight minutes of stoppage time added, Callum O’Dowda volleyed home in the 10th extra minute played to leave Ipswich one point behind Leeds – 2-0 winners at Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.

Ipswich boss McKenna said: “I haven’t given any thought to the eight minutes, but it is inconsistent this year. It is erratic.

“There have been some games where I’ve thought there have been lots of stoppages and maybe you get plus-five. Other games there have been much less.

“I wouldn’t be able to guess what it is within a couple of minutes margin when the board is going to go up.

“I can’t say it was wrong today, but it has been inconsistent this season.

“But my focus is on my team and what we can control. We’ve been very good at seeing games out, today we weren’t.”

There was a lengthy stoppage at the start of the second half when Moore and Cardiff centre-back Dimitrios Goutas clashed heads.

Moore continued with his head bandaged and the former Cardiff striker scored his sixth goal since arriving on loan from Bournemouth in January.

Asked if defeat was a costly blow to Ipswich’s promotion bid, McKenna said: “Who knows? We’re not focusing on a promotion race.

“We’re just thinking about ourselves, our journey, the next game. We’re focusing on winning next week, and the next nine.

“If the game finishes after 90 minutes we’d be talking about a really strong away performance. But it doesn’t end there and, in the last 10 minutes, we didn’t do what we needed to.”

Cardiff’s win keeps them in the play-off hunt and provides a further boost before next week’s South Wales derby at Swansea.

“I say the same, we go game by game,” said Cardiff manager Erol Bulut, who confirmed Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey would be available after this month’s international break following a calf issue.

“Maybe this was the best. We have been really prepared and I never felt we were going to lose it.

“When you play well and concede, it’s not good, but how my players started, they finished the game.

“Confidence is very important. When you see a few weeks before, confidence was not good.”

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna was delighted his side made it five wins in a row as they moved back up to second in the Sky Bet Championship with a 2-0 win at Plymouth.

A 63rd-minute own goal from Brendan Galloway and Kieffer Moore volley secured the win, while Argyle’s Mickel Miller hit a post and saw Town defender Luke Woolfenden clear his volley off the line.

McKenna said: “To win five in a row, when we have had some tough away games, that consistency is really pleasing.

“It was a really solid performance. Our organisation was good, our discipline was good and we were really competitive.

“We came out on top in more than our fair share of challenges and that gave us a really good foothold in the game in the first half.

“We knew it was going to be difficult. We knew we were going to have to stand up to a really strong home atmosphere and we had to stand up in difficult conditions, weather and pitch-wise.

“We did that really well and that gave us a really good platform at half-time to know we could push on…if we kept doing the right things, kept limiting their threats, we knew the chances would come our way and it was another really good second-half performance.

“We haven’t had too many games like this one. It was quite stop-start.

“We always back our fitness, our style, to some point it was not easy in the first half.

“We really felt confident that it would come good for us in the second half.

“The goal took a really big deflection but we had created chances either side of the goal so we felt a goal was coming.”

Argyle head coach Ian Foster said: “We don’t like losing games of football, especially here at Home Park, and obviously we are just really disappointed with the manner of the goal.

“It’s an unfortunate one for us. The shot was going wayward and it’s just hit Brendan and unfortunately ricocheted into the goal.

“The manner of that type of goal can affect you psychologically.

“It’s been an incredibly tough run of games here and we’ve given it our best shot, two of those teams we have played have shared second place today.

“We’ve tried to have right go – and I think we’ve done that again.

“We have shown that we can bounce back, so hopefully we can do that on Tuesday at Sheffield Wednesday.

“The players have been outstanding, fabulous.

“The first goal has just taken the wind out of our sails a little bit.

“If you look at their record, Ipswich have lost the least amount of games. We managed to stick with them for 63 minutes and then conceded a freak goal.

“If I have one criticism of us we didn’t react positively enough to that goal, and I get it, but you have to bounce back and show a little more resilience and character. But I don’t want to be too critical of the players.

“We can only take control of the next 90 minutes. We go to Sheffield Wednesday with confidence. We know the job in hand and have to go up there and give it our best.

“We haven’t lacked belief in any game, we go into every game trying to win. Today was a disappointing one for us but we won’t get too down about it.

“It’s just about taking it one game at a time. We won’t dwell on it, we just move on and get excited about the next game.”

Ipswich manager Kieran McKenna described his team’s narrow 4-3 victory over bottom-placed Rotherham as a “bit of a wild game”.

Omari Hutchinson’s effort in the sixth minute of added time after Cafu’s levelling penalty moments earlier left the Tractor Boys behind second-placed Leeds only on goal difference, with Southampton losing to Hull.

Town initially fell behind after just two minutes to Tom Eaves, but responded thanks to a Kieffer Moore strike and Wes Burns’ first-half brace.

Hakeem Odoffin pulled one back for the Millers in the second half before the nail-biting additional time.

McKenna said: “It was a bit of a wild game. Of course it wasn’t a good start and from that moment we never really regained our composure in the game but having said that we have scored four goals at home, we find a way to win the game.

“Every game in the Championship is tough. I knew it was going to be a tough game; the players have found a way to come out on top again and credit to them for that.”

With eight minutes of time added on, McKenna said: “We weren’t managing to keep control of the ball. We were pinned into our box and random things can happen at that point.

“I didn’t think we had that many chances against us and when they got the penalty I thought it was going to be one of those nights but credit to the players they could lie on the floor and give up on the game but we find the spirit to get the ball back, launch another attack and produce another moment of real quality to win the game.”

Rotherham head coach Leam Richardson felt his side deserved a point.

He said: “You saw the good, the bad and the ugly of what we are and why we are in the position we are in.

“I’m disappointed for the players who worked terrifically hard. We started the game very well, we had a crazy 10 minutes. The first goal hurt us, we never really recovered from it, it was like a dazed boxer but the last hour we probably deserved something from the game.

“I don’t think many teams come here and dominate all the stats and score three goals and not win the game so disappointed for the players.”

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