MANAGER’S REACTION: Mick McCarthy admits his side contributed to their own downfall in 3-1 home loss to QPR
Ipswich v QPR: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy admits that his side were the creators of their own downfall in this afternoon’s 3-1 home defeat to QPR.
The Blues were arguably the best they’ve been all season in an entertaining yet goalless first half. Then three defensive lapses were ruthlessly punished by Niko Kranjcar (53), Gary O’Neil (66) and Armand Traore (74) in the second half before Tommy Smith’s stoppage-time consolation.
Town have now lost at home to the Championship’s top three (Leicester, Burnley and QPR), this result ending a nine-game unbeaten run and seeing them drop from sixth to ninth in the table.
“We were excellent in the first half but we didn’t have that bit of quality that Kranjcar possessed to put the ball in the bottom corner,” said McCarthy. “We let him wriggle out of a space he should never haver got out of, but it was a fantastic bit of play by him.
“We had enough play and enough chances to have scored and we should have done (in the first half), they then produced that bit of quality.
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“I thought we started the second half well actually, but that first goal changes the course of the game and then the second goal kills it. Gekrs (keeper Dean Gerken) has come in and apologised for palming it (Charlie Austin’s shot) into his (Gary O’Neil’s) path. He should have cleared it, but he’s been magnificent.
“And what they’ve got is O’Neil following in it. That’s a lesson for us. Hit the target.”
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He continued: “I thought they all played well first half. It was a good performance. I can’t put any more meat on the bone other than to say I thought we played well first half, let them off the hook, they get the goal and it changes the course of the game.
“It settled down, I didn’t think they looked like getting another one until one of our star players this month (Gerken) pushes the ball straight into a player’s path. That happens.
“The lads are great, I’m immensely proud of them and the way they played in the first half against a team who were supposedly the favourites to go up and probably still are, with Leicester, considering the squad they’ve got. I thought we dominated the first half, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t score the goals.
“We’ve been on a great unbeaten run, but it’s been ended by one of the best teams in the league. It was slightly gifted by us as well though. We now crack on and start again.”
On Smith’s fine consolation goal, an acrobatic finish at a corner, McCarthy rued: “It was a great finish, but it’s those little bobbly ones that win you matches 1-0 that I like. Tommy’s been great and he was upset about the third goal we conceded (Smith didn’t deal with a long ball over the top). It put a gloss on the game for them which shouldn’t really have been there.”
– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match analysis and more reaction.