MANAGER’S REACTION: Upset over penalty decision, but McCarthy concedes that Watford were simply the better side

Mick McCarthy leaves the pitch after watching his Town side lose 2-0 to Watford

Mick McCarthy leaves the pitch after watching his Town side lose 2-0 to Watford - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v Watford: IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy admits his side were outplayed in tonight’s 2-0 home defeat to Watford – but he has told his players not beat themselves up over the performance.

The high-flying Hornets played some sumptuous one-touch football, with Ikechi Anya and Nathaniel Chalobah finishing excellent team moves in each half.

It means that Gianfranco Zola’s side – who have now scored 38 goals on their travels this season – remain hot on the heels of the top two in the Championship, while the Blues are back to within three points of the drop zone.

“We were beaten by a very, very good side – as good as I’ve seen this season in the league,” said McCarthy.

“We probably did alright to keep it to the two. We had to work for everything. Sometimes you just have to hold your hand up and say you were beaten by the better team.

“We should have had a penalty (when Lee Martin was tripped in the box at 1-0). When you’re having a tough night you need those decisions and I can’t understand what he (the referee) saw, because he had a good view of it.

“If you’d have seen their bench gasp as he stuck his foot out and then let out a sigh of relief when it wasn’t given... It should have been given – but it wasn’t.

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“I just thought they were good. It wasn’t about how we played – they’re just a good team.

“I’m not happy that we’ve been beaten – I’m chewing about it – but sometimes you do have to hold your hands up and say you’ve been beaten by a better side.

“We could have played better and done better, but is that because they handled us well? Probably, yes.”

With Town travelling to Huddersfield on Saturday, a side who were thrashed 6-1 by Nottingham Forest last night, McCarthy added: “The lads have been great. They’ve taken 31 points since November the first and I’ve just said to them don’t beat yourselves up about this one. We need another three or four wins and I think we’ve got the quality and the team spirit to get those.”