Reaction: Mick McCarthy admits his team ‘unravelled’ after conceding poor set-piece goal
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admitted his side appeared to ‘unravel’ after allowing an unmarked John Egan to head Brentford in front early in the second half of today’s 2-0 loss at Griffin Park.
Town had played some decent football in the first period, without ever really creating a golden opening, but they gave centre-back Egan the freedom of the box to head home at a corner in the 48th minute.
Shoulders slumped, Egan scored again in the 56th minute, after another corner wasn’t properly cleared, and the Blues never looked like mounting a comeback.
When it was put to McCarthy that no-one saw that flat second half display coming from his side, he replied: “Neither did I, to be honest, I don’t think anybody did.
“We didn’t mark from a corner did we? That gives them a goal.
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“What’s disappointing is we seemed to unravel after that and looked like conceding another one, which is unlike us.
“Of course we did (concede another) and that made it difficult for us, because they can play and it’s harder to chase it and get after it, especially two games in, with the heat around, and the disappointment of the two goals we conceded.”
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Set-pieces, from both an attacking and defending point of view, has traditionally been a strong suit for Town under McCarthy’s management, but it appears to have become an Achilles’ heel of late.
Is that a concern for McCarthy? “Yes, of course,” he replied. “I don’t like conceding goals from those things. They can be avoided. We’ll try and make sure we do avoid it.”
Does he need to look at this in training?
“Of course. We do look at it,” he said. “It’s not like we forget all about it. People have jobs to do and if we do them correctly then goals don’t end up in the back our net. Quite clearly we haven’t.”
Conceding at a corner when it’s a good delivery and fine finish, like at Bristol City last season, is one thing. But leaving a man completely unmarked to head home a looping cross is another. This was put to McCarthy.
He wryly interjected: “If you leave me unmarked like that then I’d score as well... and I’m 57. I’m not joking either.
“We mark man-for-man. I know some people talk about zonal marking. There’s no right way or wrong way, the only right way is stopping your bleeding man scoring – and we didn’t do that, did we?
“I played there (in defence) for a long time and I’m sure it happened against me at some point, it does happen, but that was far too simple.”
Town’s spirit in the face of adversity has also been a strong point under McCarthy, whatever their other shortfallings may be, but today the first goal seemed to suck the life out of them. Again, this was put to McCarthy.
He replied: “Yeah and, straight after the game, it’s impossible for me to analyse and say anything about that. We had a really good first half, everybody knew that, it had been a good performance and to concede like we did shouldn’t knock the stuffing out of us – but it appeared to.
“The goal gave them a lift of course.”
Town travel to Wolves on Tuesday night and then host Norwich City at Portman Road next Sunday.
– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for comment, analyse and more reaction.