MANAGER’S REACTION: Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy pleased with his side’s performance in 3-1 home defeat to Wigan Athletic

Ipswich v Wigan: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he was pleased with his side’s performance in a 3-1 home defeat to Championship top six rivals Wigan Athletic.

The Blues took the lead through Tommy Smith’s hooked finish in the 19th minute but were pegged back little more than two minutes later as James McClean finished off a quick counter-attack.

Shortly after Luke Hyam had blazed a golden chance over the bar, Leon Barnett stooped to head home a poorly defended free-kick to give the visitors a half-time lead.

The Latics then sealed an eighth successive victory in all competitions when McClean finished at the far post after Paul Green had given the ball away in midfield.

“I’ve got to say I thought we played well,” said McCarthy. “I’m really pleased with the lads we just didn’t defend particularly well.

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“Certainly we contributed to their first one, the second one it’s not like us defending a free-kick like that and the third one is as plain as the nose on my face that Greeny’s lost it and they’ve broke on us.

“The difference was they were clinical enough to punish us. They’re a good team.”

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On Hyam’s miss at 1-1, the Blues boss said: “They had a player injured apparently, but you’ve got to score the goal and then argue about it afterwards.

“That let them off the hook then we gave them a goal just before half-time. I’m pleased with the way we played though, I’m not angry with my players.

“People make mistakes, but my lads are such an honest bunch and they try their hearts out. It happens. It’s just whether the teams you play against have the ability to punish you and they did.”

Asked about the gulf in budgets between his side and the likes of Wigan, McCarthy – whose side are now six points adrift of the play-off places with 10 games to go – said: “There is a disparity isn’t there? Of course there is. But do you ever hear me come in hear and complain about that? Our lads, my lads, are brilliant. Me and TC (Terry Connor) get the best out of them and they’ve been fantastic.

“We will still keep scrapping to get in that top six. Who knows? It has been harder but it’s not impossible. I’ll settle for playing like that against the other sides around us (Brighton, Derby and Nottingham Forest the next three matches) but defending better. That’s been a really strong point of ours to be fair so I’m not going to beat anyone up for that today.”

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

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