Every time I lose in the play-offs my teams come back stronger – McCarthy
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy takes heart from the postscripts that have followed his previous play-off pain.
The Blues boss’ record in two-legged knock-out matches now reads played seven, won one, lost six.
Twice he narrowly missed out on qualification to major tournaments with the Republic of Ireland while he also suffered second-tier semi-final heartache with Millwall, Sunderland and Wolves.
On the latter two occasions he followed that up by claiming a Championship title within the following two seasons though.
“I’m not sat here right now thinking I can’t wait to come back on the first of July, I’m thinking I can’t wait for my holidays!” he joked, speaking immediately after Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Norwich City, the Blues exiting the Championship play-offs semi-finals 4-2 on aggregate to their bitter rivals.
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“But, when I do reflect, it will be feelings of pride and the knowledge that I’ve got a good squad of players.
“The play-offs have not been kind to me, but whenever I’ve lost in them I’ve either won the Championship the following year or qualified for a World Cup.
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“Maybe people should remember that.”
MCCARTHY’S BIG MOMENTS
– Lost a Championship play-off semi-final with Millwall in 1993/94 following a third-place finish. Finished 14th the following season and was appointed Republic of Ireland boss in February 1996.
– Lost two-legged play-off matches to narrowly miss out on qualification to the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championships. Then won a play-off to reach the 2002 World Cup, subsequently leading Ireland to the last 16 of the tournament.
– Lost a Championship play-off semi-final in his first full season in charge at newly-relegated Sunderland following a third-place finish. Won the title the following season. Was sacked in March the following year.
– Lost a Championship play-off semi-final in his first season at Wolves following a fifth-place finish. Finished seventh the following season. Won the title the very next year.
– Retained Wolves’ top-flight status for two successive seasons and was then controversially sacked with 13 games still to go in 2011/12.
– Kept struggling Ipswich up after taking charge in November 2012. Guided them to a ninth-place finish in his first full season in charge. Lost play-off semi-final against Norwich following a sixth-place finish.