Ex-Ipswich Town defender Russell Osman critical of Mick McCarthy’s playing style and tactics

Former Ipswich Town defender Russell Osman

Former Ipswich Town defender Russell Osman - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town legend Russell Osman believes Mick McCarthy’s style of football is harming the club’s chances of making a Premier League return.

Town finished the current campaign in their lowest league position for 58 years – 16th in the Championship – just two years after reaching the play-offs under the ex-Republic of Ireland boss.

Osman, who appreciates the budget constraints McCarthy has, believes the football played this season isn’t conducive to helping Town target the top-six.

A large amount of fans agree too, with more than half of almost 1,500 voters taking part in an online EADT survey citing McCarthy’s tactics as the biggest factor in the Blues’ decline.

“Look at the size of their budget and compare that to everybody in the league,” Osman told footballwhispers.com at their FW:2 event in Milton Keynes last Thursday.

“You’d say that if a club has a bottom six budget, that is where they are going to finish in the league.

“In recent years Ipswich have probably punched above their weight under Mick McCarthy. They finished higher up the table than they should have done.

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“If you manage to finish a lot higher – we’re talking top six or the play-offs – and the football isn’t great then that’s fine. But this season the football has come home to roost a little bit and they’ve finished 16th.

“The supporters will say Ipswich don’t play very attractive football and that is what has annoyed them.”

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Given owner Marcus Evans’ spending policy it’s unlikely McCarthy will be able to spend heavily this summer and instead, he will have to rely on loans, free transfers or academy talent.

The latter may be easier said than done, with Osman disappointed by the lack of talent being produced.

“When you look at the academy and the kind of football the players are taught to play,” explained Osman, a former Town academy coach. “It bears no resemblance to anything the first team do.

“Even before the Bobby Robson era, George Burnley’s era, and even Jim Magilton’s era, Ipswich Town was renowned for being a footballing team. They kept the ball on the floor as much as possible, they were good passers and played good football.”

“We’d play off the front players at the right time, hit long passes as well as short passes, but Mick McCarthy’s style of football is out of kilter with what a lot of the fans have grown up with.”

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