Reaction: McCarthy frustrated and agitated after Town lose at Bristol City
PUBLISHED: 18:21 13 February 2016 | UPDATED: 19:30 13 February 2016
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Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he is as frustrated and agitated as supporters after this afternoon’s 2-1 defeat at relegation-battling Bristol City made it four losses from five games in all competitions.
Centre-back Aden Flint twice headed home from corners in the first half and although substitute Brett Pitman pulled a goal back on the hour, Town never really pushed for a leveller.
The injury-hit Blues have slipped to eighth in the Championship table and are now three points adrift of the play-off places with 15 games to go.
Asked if he can understand a sense of frustration and agitation among supporters – many unhappy at the lack of signings during the January transfer window – McCarthy replied: “Absolutely, yeah. We want to be pushing for the top six. I’m frustrated and agitated myself. We want to get back to those lofty heights, but we’ll have to play better and defend corners better than we did today.”
He continued: “We didn’t defend them well enough, but on the counter side of that I have to say anyone watching them and trying to teach kids how to put in corners and make the most of them with a bit of movement from big fellas... They were magnificent deliveries which I can appreciate, even though I didn’t like conceding from them. Credit where it’s due. They were so difficult to deal with.”
With the likes of Cole Skuse, Luke Hyam, Ryan Fraser and Jonathan Douglas all unavailable through injury and suspension, McCarthy handed full debuts to new loan signing Ben Pringle and January recruit Kevin Foley – both of whom have had very little football in recent months. He also started with a wing-back system, but abandoned that not long after Bristol City’s 18th minute opener.
“It was the best system for the players I had available,” said McCarthy. “I wanted to keep two strikers up front and not go 4-3-3. I’m not bemoaning the loss of players, but having lost Skusey, Luke Hyam and Dougie, that’s a pretty fearsome three for us in the middle of the park and left us a little bit fragile in that area. I tried to stiffen that up and keep two strikers on the pitch.
“We’ve got the players for it, the three centre-backs can cope with it comfortably with a left-sider and a right-sider. We do suffer sometimes having to play a left-sider on the right-side (of the centre-backs).”
On his decision to switch back to 4-4-2 early on, Foley moving into midfield, he said: “We went behind and it was needs-must then. That’s not me being tactically astute or anything. I thought we did better off that actually. We handled it better.”
On his debutants, he said: “I was pleased with Ben (Pringle). He’s not played for quite a while (December 5 his last start for Fulham), so I was pleased with his contribution. It’s difficult to come into that game. He’s not coming into my team, just replacing one with the normal 10 players around him, he’s coming into a team which has been decimated a bit.
“I thought he did well and I thought Kevin Foley also did well. I thought he did even better when he went into midfield. I thought he had a great performance here.”
Pitman had said in the build-up that he hates being labelled a ‘super-sub’. When that was pointed out to McCarthy he said: “I know. Well, he wants to play. He certainly helped us when he came on. It was a great goal, to be fair to him.”
Asked if he was still looking to bring in a midfielder on loan, McCarthy – whose team now have a 10-day gap until the Tuesday night visit of Hull – said: “Dougie (Jonathan Douglas) will be available again and I’m hoping Luke Hyam will be fit-again to be honest with you.”