‘Mick won’t go there and lie down... he’ll have a right go’ says Berra
Former Ipswich Town defender Christophe Berra believes Mick McCarthy will send the Blues out to go toe-to-toe with Championship leaders Wolves tomorrow.
McCarthy is unbeaten against his former side since taking over as Town boss in November 2012, but the Molineux club are a different animal this season following significant investment which has seen them spend heavily in the transfer market and helped them open up a four-point lead at the top of the Championship.
But Berra, who played under McCarthy at both Wolves and Ipswich before leaving for Scottish club Hearts in the summer, believes his former boss will not simply head to Molineux and look to contain the league leaders.
“Knowing Mick I think he will go there and have a go, he won’t sit back and let them have the ball,” Berra said.
“He’s going to get in their faces and make it uncomfortable for them and I don’t know if many teams have done that to them.
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“Ipswich have threatening attacking players and experience in the likes of Chambo (Luke Chambers) at the back so I’m sure they will look to go toe-to-toe. They are certainly scoring a lot of goals which we didn’t really do last season
“When I was with Ipswich we never got beaten there, a couple of 0-0s and a 1-1, so our record isn’t that bad at Molineux.
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“It will be a tough game, they’ll know that, but Mick won’t go there and lie down and I’m sure he will go there and have a right go.”
McCarthy took Wolves up as champions in 2009 before being sacked following a 5-1 home loss to rivals West Brom in 2015. with Berra insisting his old boss doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his work at Molineux.
“The gaffer is thick skinned,” Berra said. “He knows how football works and he gets on with it.
“He had a lot of friends at Wolves, he still does, and there is a lot of the support there who hold him in high regard.
“You have to remember he got them promoted to the Premier League and they were there for three years which, in the modern era, is the most successful Wolves team in the top flight.
“I don’t think he gets enough credit for that because it was done on a small budget compared to a lot of Premier League teams. This current Wolves side’s budget is probably 10-times what Mick had to spend when he was there.”
Berra keeps a firm eye on his former Portman Road team-mates’ results and has been pleased to see them in the promotion mix, but believes Wolves have every chance to go on and secure a Premier League return.
“They have a new owner who is spending millions and millions of pounds and bought someone for £15million, which we never spent when Wolves were in the Premier League.
“They are doing well for it, though and the players have adapted well to the Championship. They have players who have played at a very high level in Portugal and they look like they are going to be the one runaway team in the league.
“It’s a bit more open teams to get into the other automatic promotion or into the play-offs. It could be anyone. Teams like Middlesbrough, Leeds and Norwich on paper have big squads but aren’t doing it.
“Wolves’ points-to-games ratio is well above where they need to be to get promoted and they are scoring a lot of goals, have the flair players and are doing very well.”
The Scotland international is enjoying being back at his boyhood club and being closer to his family, with Hearts spirits particularly high following Sunday’s 4-0 demolition of Celtic, which ended the champions’ astonishing 69-game unbeaten run.
“It’s good to be home and good to be back at the club I started out at,” he said.
“We had a very up-and-down start to the season with things going on and managers changing, but we had a brilliant win over Celtic on Sunday to beat the leaders and end their run of 69 games without defeat.
“Nobody expected us to win that game, we were missing key players and had a lot of young players in the side against a full-strength Celtic side. Everyone thought it would be another Celtic win but it was full deserved by us and we beat them 4-0, so it wasn’t as if it was lucky. Sometimes against the Old Firm you can win by being lucky on the day but this was fully deserved.
“We have a very young team, a couple of teenagers who aren’t the finished article yet but are progressing really well and hopefully before long we will be back to where Hearts are supposed to be.”