MANAGER’S REACTION: Mick McCarthy remaining grounded after winning start

Birmingham v Ipswich: MICK McCarthy’s feet remain firmly on the ground after his side produced a fantastic battling display to kick-start his new managerial reign with a 1-0 victory at Birmingham City.

Town broke the deadlock through a fine DJ Campbell strike in the eighth minute and then looked the more likely to score throughout the first half.

Birmingham, lifted by the arrival of Chris Burke and Nikola Zigic off the bench, dominated the final 20 minutes though.

And it took an excellent one-on-one save from Stephen Henderson, as well as some brave blocks from Danny Higginbotham and Luke Chambers, to seal Town’s first win in 13 matches.

“I couldn’t have asked for much more from the players – I thought they gave everything,” said McCarthy. “I’m delighted because not only does it ends a losing streak for the club, it also ends a losing streak for me.

“It was difficult at the end. They throw on a 6ft 7in striker (Zigic) and are pumping the ball into the box, but we produced some blocks and a good save.

“It was great to get the clean sheet, if we’d been walking away with a nil-nil I’d have been happy, but their keeper has made a great save from Danny Higginbotham too.

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“All-in-all it was a very even game and I think we deserved to win it. The attitude that was shown was first class.”

With the midfield trio of Richie Wellens, Guirane N’Daw and Nigel Reo-Coker tiring due to their lack of matches in recent months, McCarthy said: “There’s all this ‘they’ve not been playing games’ but big Guirane N’Daw I thought epitomised us today.

“Loan players coming to get fit for other clubs... I thought Richie Wellens was terrific. I hope we can keep him, but I’ll have to talk to (Leicester manager) Nigel (Pearson) about that.

“DJ Campbell is a goalscorer, no doubt about that. I’ll have to talk to the powers that be to see if we can keep him here as well because he’s a great character to have about the place.

“It was difficult circumstances for Paul (Jewell) with so many loans and quite a few not fully fit. Let’s hope we can get them fully fit.”

Asked what he’d said to his players, McCarthy said: “I gave them a pat on the back, but I also told them they should be embarrassed to be bottom of the league.

“If they’d worked like that, played like that, blocked like that, then I wouldn’t be in this job.

“A new manager always get a response, but we’ve got to do it again now – for the next 32 occasions. It’s a repeat process.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for more from Ipswich Town’s new boss.

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