MANAGERS’ REACTION: Mick McCarthy praises his side’s performance after Blackburn grab a scrappy winner

Blackburn v Ipswich: BLUES boss Mick McCarthy praised his side’s performance after a scrappy second-half goal sealed a 1-0 win for Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park and plunged Town back towards the relegation zone.

Town are now just one point and one place above the Championship drop zone, but – with only 10 points separating the bottom 10 teams – McCarthy is refusing to let his emotions change from week-to-week.

Ex-Town striker Jordan Rhodes is claiming the deciding goal, which arrived just before the hour mark, insisting he got the last touch and that the ball crossed the line before Aaron Cresswell hacked clear.

Replays are not conclusive though and it could well go down as an own goal after the cleared ball cannoned off the back of keeper Stephen Henderson’s head to find the back of the net.

“I thought we were the better team until they scored,” said McCarthy. “But goals change the course of games and performances.

“To concede the way we did, from a corner kick, was pretty galling. We didn’t clear it out properly and Hendo gets an own goal – he heads in the back of his own net. That makes it even worse.

“We then maybe have to throw a bit of caution to the wind, which we did. I thought we had some good chances at the end and I was pleased with the performance to be honest with you.

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“I can’t ask for any more effort. It’s just a case of putting the chances away when they come your way.

“Barnsley scored against us late on to take two points off us, Bristol City scored in the last minute to beat us. You just have to find that finish from somewhere.”

Barnsley, Bolton, Bristol City and Peterborough all won today, while Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves both drew.

Asked if he felt his side had enough spirit to beat the drop, McCarthy said: “You’ve seen that already and you know that’s the case. You’ve seen that out there today – that performance was full of it.

“We’ve just conceded by defending badly from a corner kick, that’s all. There was nothing wrong with the performance at all.”

Rovers boss Michael Appleton said: “It was Jordan Rhodes’ goal. Grant Hanley prodded it towards goal, but Jordan had the last touch on the ball before Cresswell tried to clear it. If you had Hawkeye it would tell us whether it was over the line or not before the clearance, but it’s difficult to tell when you look back on the DVD.

“I’m sure he’ll get the reward of the goal. To be honest I couldn’t care less, but from Jordan’s point of view he wants the record (equals club-record of scoring in seven straight league games).”

He added: “They beat Middlesbrough 4-0 last week so we knew it was going to be a tough game. A lot of the game both sides cancelled each other out.

“Sometimes you just have to grind things out. I thought we were much, much better second half and the change gave us a lift. DJ Campbell gave us an added threat.

“I keep banging on about how clean sheets give you the best chance of winning football matches and the players are starting to really, really understand why I keep saying it now.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match analysis, comment and more reaction.