MANAGERS’ REACTION: Mick McCarthy admits Millwall defeat was his side’s flattest performance of the season

Millwall v Ipswich: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy admitted his side produced their flattest performance of the season in this afternoon’s 1-0 defeat at Millwall.

Ryan Frederick’s mis-hit cross looped over Dean Gerken and into the top corner in the 40th minute, with the Blues keeper seemingly convinced the ball was heading over the bar.

Millwall fully deserved their first win in eight matches though after playing with heart and organisation in what was manager Ian Holloway’s home debut. Ipswich, by contrast, looked desperately short of ideas as they suffered a third successive defeat in all competitions (now just one win in nine) to drop to 10th in the table.

When asked for his assessment, a downbeat McCarthy – minus his grey beard – replied: “We deserved to lose.”

When asked why, he replied: “Because they played better and we played badly. I thought they played very well to be honest.”

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Then, after a lengthy pause, he continued: “I didn’t think for one minute that there was a bad squad of players here. I said in the build-up that our 3-0 win (in the reverse fixture) was flattering. They’ve got a good squad and fair play to Ollie he’s got them going today.

“That was always going to be the case, the crowd were up and they played well.

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“We let a bit of a blooper in to be fair. Despite everything else, if you let one of them in you ain’t going to win.”

Asked if the winning goal was a fluke, he sarcastically responded: “No, he flippin’ meant it! I’m sure he practises it every day.”

Did he blame his keeper? “Yes. He does himself. I think he just mis-read the flight of it. When he put it in I thought ‘happy days, it’s going in behind’, but I’m not in the net – the keeper’s there to stop it.

“Let me tell you, if somebody shouted at him to leave it and he did I would be seriously upset with him. He obviously thinks it’s going over the bar.”

Was this his side’s flattest performance of the season?

“Yeah. We always talk about me and us though, let’s not forget that Millwall were full of energy and played well.”

Did the early injury to Luke Hyam disrupt his side?

“It doesn’t help because he been a virtual ever-present for us. It’s a nasty cut he’s got.

“Out of all our subs who came on, I thought Tabby (Jay Tabb) did great. We settled down, then the goal came out of the blue and changed the game completely.

“The game was going nowhere until he ‘picked the top corner out’.”

Asked how bad Hyam’s injury looked, the midfielder carried off on a stretcher following a five minute delay, he said: “He’s got a nasty cut, he’s gone to get it cleaned out and stitched up and we’ll have to wait and see before we get a proper and thorough assessment on it. I’m not going to speculate.

“I think they (Hyam and Liam Trotter) both went for the ball. I don’t get too upset with tackles like that.”

Millwall boss Ian Holloway said: “I’m made up. I think the lads deserve it. We took on a fantastic bloke (McCarthy). You only have to look at what he’s done in just over a year and it’s almost a miracle. I think he’ll be disappointed if he’s honest because we were up for the fight and we were ready for it.

“The big question is, where’s that been?

“It was a fluke goal, yeah we could have scored a couple more, but I’m just delighted with the win. I’m really pleased with the lads because what I asked for they gave me.”

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

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