Every time I lose in the play-offs my teams come back stronger – McCarthy

Norwich fans invade the pitch after their win at Carrow Road, with disappointed Ipswich fans looking

Norwich fans invade the pitch after their win at Carrow Road, with disappointed Ipswich fans looking on from the stands

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.”


– 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.

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