GALLERY AND REACTION: Mick McCarthy concedes that Ipswich Town’s automatic promotion hopes are all but over

Middlesbrough's Albert Adomah (centre) celebrates with after scoring his side'sgoal during the Sky B

Middlesbrough's Albert Adomah (centre) celebrates with after scoring his side'sgoal during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Riverside, Middlesbrough. - Credit: PA

Middlesbrough v Ipswich: Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has conceded that his side’s automatic promotion hopes are all but over following yesterday lunchtime’s damaging 4-1 defeat at Championship promotion rivals Middlesbrough.

The Blues played well at times, leading the corner, possession and shooting stats, but conceded four sloppy goals – a recurring theme in a disappointing 2015 – to fall eight points behind their hosts.

Asked if his side could now discount a top-two finish heading into the final nine matches, McCarthy said: “Well, it depends on the other results (this afternoon) of course. But if we end up eight points behind two teams, or three teams, I don’t see there’s any chance that we’re going to win three games more than all of them.”

With Daniel Ayala and Albert Adomah both scoring following poorly defended short corners in the first half, and Patrick Bamford twice bamboozling a shaky Blues back line after the break, McCarthy rued: “It was not like us. That has been one of our strengths, we know how to defend short corners, but we didn’t defend them. I thought we were the better side in the first half, and I don’t watch with rose-coloured spectacles as you know.

“We equalise (Daryl Murphy scoring his 23rd of the campaign), got done again by another short corner kick, but we came off the field with me feeling like we were playing well. I didn’t see that second half coming. It was bad defending for the other two goals.

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“If you give goals away to anybody it’s going to be difficult, certainly to a team like Middlesbrough. I’ll take responsibility for the way we were in the last 15 minutes because I put strikers on in an attempt to get back in the game. We lost our shape and our discipline a bit and they had more chances than they would have done. It looked a bit shambolic, but I’ll take responsibility for that.”

With keeper Dean Gerken having been stretchered off following a hefty collision sustained just prior to the game’s opening goal, McCarthy said: “I’m hoping he’s okay. He’s gone to the hospital for a scan. I’d love to be able to give good news to his wife because she had a baby yesterday morning. I would imagine her seeing him stretchered off with oxygen on his face was extremely difficult and upsetting for her, as it was for all of us.”

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– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for McCarthy’s reaction to questions on the make-up of his back four.

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