Stupid goals let them off the hook – McCarthy on Town’s 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough
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Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes his team let Middlesbrough off the hook in this afternoon’s 2-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium.
The Blues had frustrated the hosts – who came into the game off the back of three defeats in four – before conceding soft goals either side of the break, Martin Braithwaite (44) and Patricm Bamford (51) profiting from some slack defending.
“The overall assessment is that I think we let them off the hook on 44 minutes and then I thought we let them off the hook again six minutes into the second half,” said McCarthy.
“I don’t think Bart (keeper Bartosz Bialkowski) had too much to do up until 44 minutes. They might have had a lot of possession but passed it in front of us, while I thought we had a couple of half chances we could have done better with.
He continued: “They were just really, really poor goals that we conceded.
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“We lost the ball up the pitch when we should have stuck it in behind them, then we didn’t stop the cross or defend the cross and that then gives them a real lift just before half-time.
“Then the second goal is just bonkers from our point of view. First rolling the ball where we rolled it to, then the pass that we hit, then the defending for the goal... But, having said that, it was a £10million striker who put the ball in the net.”
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Asked if he sensed his side were frustrating Boro up until the opener, McCarthy replied: “Oh we were. There’s no ‘was I sensing that’, we were frustrating them.
“I think my players would have come in feeling fairly self assured and confident of the fact that we’d been able to nullify most of their threats. And we may still have been able to do that had we not given another stupid goal away on 51 minutes.
“If we gave some of the teams beneath us those kind of openings we’d still find it hard (to comeback), but if you give them to teams of Middlesbrough’s quality with the squad that they have then...
“I’m not going to say it’s impossible, because had we got one back then they might have got nervous again. We couldn’t though and we didn’t.
“Having given them the second goal they looked like a bloody good team then and we looked liked chumps chasing it around. That’s unfair to us that, but it’s our own downfall and it’s our undoing.”
Conceding soft goals has certainly been Town’s Achilles heel this season.
“I know it is,” rued McCarthy. “I could sit here and bemoan it to you or I could compliment us on the amount of goals we’ve scored and how we’re still in a bloody good position despite all our (weaknesses).
“Last year we had clean sheets and nil-nils, this year we’ve had 4-2s and 2-0s. Which do you prefer? I know what I prefer. I prefer to be winning games rather than drawing them nil-nil.
“(Today) we’ve made our mistakes, we’ve given them chances, they’ve scored them, they are a better team than us because of it and there’s not a great deal I can do about it now is there?
“Going toe-to-toe with the teams who have come up or just survived last year is tough enough. This league is bloody hard, but you make it harder still if you give chances to good players and good teams.
“They (MIddlesbrough) can then keep the ball. They have the best defensive record anyway, so we knew it was going to be tough. We didn’t half give them some help though.”
Explaining his decision to replace Emyr Huws with Joe Garner at the break, the Blues boss added: “He got a bang on his hip, but I was changing it anyway. Whether it was him who was coming off you’ll never know. That made my mind up.”
Boro boss Garry Monk said: “I’m pleased for the players and I’m pleased for our fans. We needed to show a response for the fans and ourselves.
“Overall I think we comfortable and were deserved winners throughout. It was a step forward in terms of showing the possibilities of what we can be, but I think we can be a lot better and there is a lot more to come.
“We’ve taken steps forwards already this season, then shot ourselves in the foot and taken a few steps backwards. It’s important that we work doubly hard and focus this week in order to build some momentum, confidence and belief now.”