Being outside the top six is a psychological advantage, says Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Sky Bet Championship
Ipswich Town v Birmingham City - Portman Road, Ipswich - 1 Mar 2014

Sky Bet Championship Ipswich Town v Birmingham City - Portman Road, Ipswich - 1 Mar 2014 Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is happy for his side to fly under the radar as others continue to be crippled by the pressure of occupying a top-six slot.

Many rivals have blown hot and cold, but the hard-working and organised Blues have produced consistent performances and are just two points adrift of the Championship play-off places heading into their final seven matches of the campaign.

And with the likes of QPR, Derby, Wigan, Reading, Nottingham Forest and Brighton having all begun to falter as the finishing line comes into sight, Town’s confidence and form is peaking at just the right time.

“When you’re in the top six there is a real pressure to stay there,” said McCarthy. “When you’re chasing from behind there is less pressure. You can see over the last week how the buzz has changed because people now think we can get in there.

“I know there is more pressure being in the top six because you don’t want to drop out. It’s the same at other end of the table. If you’re fourth bottom the pressure is there not to drop into the relegation zone, but if you’re in that bottom three it’s like ‘hey, we’re going down as it is so we might as well have a real good go’.

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“There is a psychological effect if you’re in the top six or bottom three, definitely.”

Asked if Ipswich had an advantage because very few people had tipped them for a promotion push following a season of battling relegation, McCarthy said: “I don’t know how many people wrote us off completely. I don’t think we were ever among the favourites to be in the higher echelons and competing for promotion though.

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“I think the way we finished last year made people realise we weren’t going to be any mugs.

“It’s more the pressure you get from inside. We want to do well and, having got into the position we are, we all want to do better. It’s a personal pride, pressure – whatever you want to call it. We want to achieve something.

“There’s certainly been no pressure from the owner. Marcus (Evans) is realistic enough to know that if he’d said to me ‘you’ve got to get promoted this year or that’s it’, I would have probably turned around and said ‘there’s no point in me being here then’. He also knew, having chatted to him, that we were going to be competitive. “There’s difference between expecting to be competitive and expecting to go up. That puts a hell of a strain on your performances and it puts a hell of a strain on your relationship between manager and owner.

“I always believe in doing as well as I can with what I’ve got. Just do the best you possibly can.”

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