Ipswich Town defender Christophe Berra relishing business end of the season
- Credit: Archant
He may have found himself in a state of delirium after his winner against Blackpool on Saturday, but Christophe Berra admits the run-in is proving challenging, ahead of tonight’s home clash against Cardiff.
And who can blame him?
With four games to go, Town occupy the final play-off spot on goal difference from Brentford and Wolves, the team they travel to visit on Saturday, and the fans inside Portman Road seem constantly on a knife-edge.
After the indignity of back-to-back relegations with Wolves, Berra has rebuilt his career at Portman Road and promotion would be the perfect tonic for the Scottish international, who is one of many players that can credit Mick McCarthy with revitalising his career.
Berra’s goals have been crucial along the way for the Blues, Saturday’s could yet prove to be the most important, but his reaction to netting the winner was more relief than anything else as the pressure and tension eased ever so slightly amongst the majority of fans inside Portman Road.
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“It was good to get the winning goal and it was a massive three points for us,” said Berra.
“It is possibly my most important goal. It reminded me of my goal against Derby last season with the same celebration down the same end of the pitch.”
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Town had to come from a goal down and were then pegged back to 2-2 against a team already relegated at the weekend, but Berra insists that wasn’t entirely unexpected, given the prize on offer.
“They (Blackpool) may think they have scored two good goals but on our behalf they were two poor goals to concede, down to poor defending,” he added.
“That’s football. It is the business end of the season and mistakes are going to be made with nervy moments.
“The atmosphere perhaps makes it seem more edgy than it actually is. If you watch the game at home the next day it is not so edgy but the atmosphere makes it seem edgy because there is so much to play for.
“It may be alright if you are a striker or attacker but for us defenders it is not ideal because we have to push forward and leave space behind us and no defender likes that.”
While Town will be feeling the heat, so will Brentford and Wolves, despite that duo being the ones in pursuit rather than the team holding onto that vital sixth spot.
Berra believes the chase for the play-offs will go down to the wire.
“We have seen how many games go to the last minute and we will carry on doing that, to the last minute of the last game,” he said.
“It would be great to secure a play off place with a game to go but that’s not the way things work and this league is so competitive.
“It is between us Brentford, Wolves and Derby for that final sixth place.”
Meanwhile, team-mate Daryl Murphy, himself revitalised under McCarthy, says it would be a tragedy should Town not be promoted.
“It would be massive as we have worked so hard the whole season,” said the newly-crowned supporters’ player of the year.
“To narrowly miss out would be devastating for us, considering our position in January.
“But we know what we have to do win our games.”