MANAGER’S REACTION: Mick McCarthy admits his Ipswich Town side were ‘second best’ in 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough v Ipswich: Blues boss Mick McCarthy kept his analysis short following a lacklustre 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough, saying: ‘We were second best; got nowt, deserved nowt’.

Middlesbrough ended a goal drought which had lasted more than 12 hours when Danny Graham pounced in the 29th minute after keeper Dean Gerken had parried a Mustapha Carayol shot back into danger.

The latter – back off the naughty step having previously been left out for what manager Aitor Karanka had described as ‘a bad attitude’ – gave Luke Chambers a torrid time with his direct runs.

Graham was then left unmarked to glance home a Grant Leadbitter corner in first half stoppage-time, the home side comfortably seeing out their victory as the Blues produced just one tame shot on target inside the 90 minutes.

Asked for his assesment, McCarthy – who kept his players in the dressing room for a long time after the match – replied: “Second best; got nowt, deserved nowt.

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“As you can imagine it was pretty sombre and not very buoyant in the dressing room after that. It was disappointment as much as anything at the way we played.

“We didn’t compete, not like we normally do.”

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Asked why he felt his side had produced such a flat performance, he said: “If I knew that I would put it immediately right, wouldn’t I? I could give you a whole host of reasons. We’ve had players away (on intrenational duty), we’ve had a bit of a broken week, we’ve travelled up. I never believe it’s because of travel, but the point I’m making is that I could sit here and give a whole host of reasons.

“I actually think they played well. Before the goal there wasn’t a lot in it, but when they got the goal I thought they played well.

“They got on top of us and didn’t let us play at all. They’ve got a fair few quid in that team, I’ve got to be honest.

“They’ve just signed (Lee) Tomlin, Danny Graham has been at Swansea and Hull in the Premier League, they’ve got (Mustapha) Carayol, (Albert) Adaomah on the bench, Leadbitter who we couldn’t afford to keep, (Nathaniel) Chalobah on loan from Chelsea.

“They’ve got a good side and to stop that we’ve got to play well. Do you know what, we didn’t. But I guess I should give them some credit because they did play well.”

Asked if he put the opening goal down to a goalkeeping error, the Blues boss said: “I haven’t seen it again, I’m not sure how difficult it was to stop. I’ll have to see it again.

“It’s not like us and like my teams to allow Carayol to wriggle out of that and then come on the inside and shoot. It’s unlike us, but I don’t want to detract away from them because I thought they played well.

“The second was awful marking and that’s not like us. It’s a bad day in the office; we didn’t get owt, we didn’t deserve owt. You can ask me to put meat on the bones of that but I think it sums it up.”

On his decision to take off Frank Nouble at half-time, replacing him with Luke Hyam, McCarthy said: “He’d put in as much effort as anybody. I could have taken any one of the three (strikers) off.

“I thought I’d go 4-4-2 and see if we could get something back. He was the unlucky one that had to come off. I thought I’d leave Tayls where he was and see if he could replicate some of last week’s performance. Murph looked like he’d been away and not really had a week’s training with us, so it could have been anybody.”

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

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