Mick McCarthy glad he blocked out the ‘background noise’ when it came to his back five
The insuppressible smile which broke out across his face said it all.
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy had met critical questions about his back five with a fixed stare and belligerent response last week.
So when the subject of Saturday’s clean sheet in the 3-0 win at Charlton was brought up, the look of satisfaction and ‘told you so’ pride was plain to see.
“They are my best back five, no doubt,” said the former centre-back, referring to keeper Dean Gerken and defenders Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith, Christophe Berra and Jonas Knudsen.
“I’m not being critical of Bart (keeper Bartosz Bialkowski), that’s for sure, because he was in I’d still probably be saying ‘that’s my best back five’.
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“I think they are both just as good, but he (Gerken) has got the gloves and possession is nine tenths of the law.
“The other four have been terrific, they really have. It was Ty (Tyrone Mings) at left-back last year, but Jonas has come in and filled that slot really well.
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“They played last week, they played today and they will be the ones that play next week as well.”
The debate about the make-up of Town’s defence had intensified after soft goals were conceded in a 2-2 home draw with Wolves.
Town’s initial success under McCarthy had been based firmly around defensive solidity, but this calendar year has seen that dissipate somewhat.
The Blues’ experienced boss has learnt to block out the opinions of others throughout his career though and stick to his convictions.
His mantra is that form is temporary and class is permanent, that the best players in your squad prove themselves to be as much when shown loyalty, and that a consistent off-field approach brings consistent performances on it.
Not so long ago the statistic being focused on was one win in 10 league games. Town are now unbeaten in six and back up to seventh in the Championship table.
“It’s just as well that I don’t get too high or too low, and it’s just as well that my owner Marcus Evans doesn’t get too high or low either,” he said. “We’re just consistent in what we’re doing.
“I certainly had belief in the squad and what we’re doing and he (Evans) does too.
“Sometimes you have to ignore all the background noise that goes on. I understand why all that happens, but we just blocked that out and kept plodding along.”