‘Good, bad and evil’ as Ipswich Town players practise penalties
Ipswich Town players practised penalties yesterday ahead of tomorrow’s Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Norwich City at Carrow Road (12.15pm ko).
The tie is finely-poised after last weekend’s evenly-contested 1-1 draw at Portman Road and away goals do not count double.
“We were taking penalties this morning just in case it goes to that,” said Blues boss Mick McCarthy, speaking at yesterday lunchtime’s pre-match press conference.
“It could be won or lost in normal time, extra-time, or it could go to penalties. It could require 10 or 12 penalties. Nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
Asked how the penalty practise went, he replied: “There were some good, some bad and some evil; the usual. I said to them ‘you’ll only have one, so no pressure, it might only be worth a hundred and 30 million quid!’
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“You might have a technique of taking a penalty but when you’ve played 120 minutes and are knackered, and the keeper is suddenly looking twice as big as he was, and the goal’s looking smaller, and the spot seems about 30 yards away, then that technique might just go out the window.
“You need something to fall back on. Just get your head over it and make sure you hit the target and force the keeper to at least save it.
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“Jordan (Miles, video analyst) will have all the penalties that they (Norwich) have taken this season and will go through them with Malcolm (Webster, keeper coach), Bart (Bialkowski, first choice keeper) and Gerks (Dean Gerken, back-up keeper). I don’t know how many of their players have taken penalties though.
“When the other fellas are walking up, who have never taken one, and the crowd are making all that noise, it’s a pretty nervy occasion.”
Taking heart from the way his side have improved in all three games against Norwich this season, McCarthy said: “I think we can go there and win, of course. I might as well not bother to turn up for work if I didn’t think we could.
“Of course we can, because we played really well last week and there was nothing between the two teams.
“They’re at home, are slight favourites because of that, and have got the crowd advantage. But I think you’ll find if they go one down it becomes a slight disadvantage.
“I have belief and trust in my players that they’ll give everything. There’s pressure on all of us and we’ll see who handles it best on Saturday at quarter past 12. We all just want the game to come now.”