Mick McCarthy insists team’s intensity will improve after underwhelming pre-season

Hoping for the best in 2016/17: Ipswich Town left-back Jomas Knudsen. Picture: Steve Waller

Hoping for the best in 2016/17: Ipswich Town left-back Jomas Knudsen. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy insists his team are ready for Saturday’s Championship opener against Barnsley, at Portman Road, following an underwhelming pre-season campaign.

The Blues’ friendly schedule concluded with a 2-1 home defeat to Belgian second-tier side Royale Union Saint-Gilloise at the weekend.

It saw a continuation of some worrying summer themes – dominate possession, not be ruthless enough in attack and then make sloppy errors at the back.

Prior to that there had been a 1-0 loss at Barnet (League Two), a 1-0 win at Colchester (League Two), a 1-1 draw at Cambridge United (League Two) and 0-0 draw at Charlton (League One).

“On Saturday there will be an added intensity,” said McCarthy. “You walk out and there is 15 to 20 thousand or so people here, there are points at stake and it’s just a better feeling. You have those nerves in your stomach. It’s just better.

“Pre-season isn’t the same because there is, I don’t know, five per cent that gets lost. As a player I did not like it at all because they are friendlies and don’t have that same competitive edge. I used to get stick in pre-season at times, but I didn’t get much stick in league games. It’s just different.”

Town’s performances have undoubtedly improved as pre-season has worn on and they were utterly dominant against both Charlton and Royale Union Saint-Gilloise.

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Positives include an improved passing game, Teddy Bishop and David McGoldrick looking sharp following long-term injury lay-offs and encouraging displays from summer signing Adam Webster.

“I know there’s a perception of this team that they don’t play any football, but they played great football today. We’ve got beaten though and it’s about winning games,” said McCarthy. “I’d settle for playing like we did for 65 minutes today – the possession we had and the chances we created. We battered them for most of the game.”

McCarthy added: “There are not many teams in this division who haven’t played in the Premier League now and some of them have been in the Premier League regularly and recently.

“They are coming down with a whole load of money, so it’s going to be tough. It seems to me they’ve all been prepared to add to their squads and it’s going to be a stronger league.”

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