McCarthy praises ‘outstanding’ Rhodes as he rues Town’s slow start at Blackburn

Christophe Berra vents his frustrations at the referee at Ewood Park on Saturday

Christophe Berra vents his frustrations at the referee at Ewood Park on Saturday

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy described the performance of Jordan Rhodes as ‘outstanding’, as the Blues lost 2-0 at Blackburn Rovers this afternoon.

The former Town striker scored both of the goals, in the 12th and 16th minutes, and could have had a hat-trick, had it not been for the woodwork and the brilliance of a Dean Gerken save.

“He (Rhodes) was outstanding,” confessed McCarthy, whose side have slipped into 12th position in the Championship.

“He messed us around, he nudged us, he bumped us, he blocked things.

“Don’t forget his goals, because his goals have won the game, but I think his all-round performance was outstanding.”

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After coolly rolling home a 12th-minute penalty, Rhodes added a second with a terrific header just moments later, with McCarthy conceding that these early goals away from home cost his team.

“Giving teams two-goal head-starts has become a bit of a bad habit of ours. It’s got to stop,” said the boss, who was missing the in-form Ryan Fraser (bruised ankle) today.

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“They got their tails up from the start and it was always going to be difficult to get those two goals back.

“I have to say they started well. They played like us when we were in our pomp last season and played well with a 4-4-2.

“They got about us with people blocking things and stopping us playing, and they did it better than we did.”

McCarthy’s side have now conceded more league goals against (17) than they have scored (15), with the boss still puzzled as to why his side are having such defensive difficulties.

“It’s not because we’ve got more of a threat that’s for sure,” he said.

“It’s not just one thing. I can put my finger on a lot of things that are wrong, but I can’t just give you one answer as to why we are defending the way we are.

“We tried to try and put that right this week (in training) and we just didn’t start well (today).”

Ipswich were up against it after 12 minutes when Hope Apkan went down under the challenge of Larsen Toure, with McCarthy having no complaints about the decision from referee Andre Mariner.

“It’s always one of them,” said McCarthy.

“He isn’t going to down if he’s anywhere else other than the penalty area, but I don’t blame him and Larsen gave him the chance.

“I have no complaints about it. I’m looking at it and he shouldn’t have been allowed to get into that position and fair play to him for driving in the box.”

Town’s next game, on October 17, is against Huddersfield at Portman Road, after the international break.

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