IT’S not often Ipswich Town are mentioned in the same breath as Manchester City.

But while listening to the radio en route to work this morning, I was struck by a comment from superstar manager Pep Guardiola.

In singing the virtues of Spanish magician David Silva, Pep said: “I love players who step forward in the bad moments and say ‘OK, I'm here guys’.”

In other words, Silva has character and confidence.

He’s mentally strong and dependable - someone you turn to for hope and inspiration.

Clearly, in terms of ability, Ipswich don’t have a Silva.

Alarmingly, though, they don’t appear to have anyone with his character traits, either.

They lack leadership, perhaps with the exception of skipper Luke Chambers, and that was all too evident once again in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat against Middlesbrough.

Their error-ridden performance was generally flat and disjointed, certainly in the first half, and for a while it was men against boys. That bothers me.

I pride myself on being a positive person, certainly in terms of football.

I try to see chinks of light amid the gloom but this latest performance, let alone result, left me seriously deflated.

There was more wrong than right and serious limitations at both ends of the pitch.

Boro could scarcely believe their luck after being gift-wrapped two early goals.

For the first, Mo Besic benefitted from a fortuitous ricochet but was inexplicably allowed to travel from close to the halfway line before slotting past Dean Gerken.

Then, for the second, Chambers’ horrible, sloppy pass went straight to Stewart Downing and the former England winger made him pay. Bang – 2-0 down in 16 minutes.

A tough task became immeasurably harder and, in all honesty, even at that early juncture, it appeared the game was up.

Yes, Town play some tidy football at times but only in harmless areas.

They lack penetration and menace in the final third and while the second half most definitely improved, they still only managed one meaningful effort on target – Trevoh Chalobah’s low drive that was turned behind by diving keeper Darren Randolph.

Shipping preventable goals at one end of the pitch and being toothless at the other is a recipe for disaster and, sadly, there doesn’t appear to have been much – or any - improvement.

Boss Paul Hurst must feel like a broken record, having to talk about his side’s defensive vulnerability but also their inability to create chances (or take them when they come along).

So what happens now?

I can’t and won’t subscribe to the suggestion Hurst should go, that owner Marcus Evans should pull the trigger in response to his side’s winless start to the Championship campaign (plus Carabao Cup exit).

A manager should never be sacked after 11 games.

Such a move would be regressive and destructive, rather than building foundations.

However, I admit the alarm bells are ringing and aside from the obvious – eradicating mistakes – I’m not sure what the answer is.

I’m running my finger down the list of players on the back of last night’s programme and, in all honesty, I don’t see many names to pin hope on.

In terms of both personnel and even system, it appears a case of throwing mud at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Town have to play with the cards at their disposal and, as alluded to at the start, they need their characters to step up.

Senior players have to embrace the challenge and start leading by example, before it’s too late.