Mick McCarthy: My players deserved a warm weather break in Portugal

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy - Credit: Lucy taylor

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he took his players to Portugal this week for three days of golf, socialising and some warm-weather training as a thank you for their efforts so far this season.

The Blues head into tomorrow’s game at second-bottom Barnsley just four points adrift of the Championship play-off places with 17 games to go.

That’s an incredible achievement considering that Town were bottom of the table when McCarthy arrived little more than 15 months ago and that he has worked on a shoestring budget ever since.

“I’m not going to put it up as some sort of mid-season boot camp, because it wasn’t,” said McCarthy, when asked about the last minute decision to jet out to the Algarve following last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Bolton.

“We played golf on Sunday, we played golf on Monday morning and trained Monday afternoon, we played golf Tuesday morning and trained Tuesday afternoon.

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“It was great. It enabled us to get away from the bad weather and train on a dry pitch, there was a bit of sunshine, I had a bit of a social with them, we all had a meal together and I had a beer with them.

“We’ve only used 19 or 20 players (24), we’ve certainly used less than anybody else (joint fewest with Burnley in the Championship), so I just thought they deserved a break really.

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“It was great that we could go off the back of seven points (from three games) and of course now everybody will be watching to see what happens at Barnsley on Saturday.

“If we win it will be viewed a great idea, if we lose it will be ‘what were you doing in Portugal – you were obviously abusing yourselves’. Well we weren’t.”

He added: “I’ve done it at clubs in the past and it does work. It is a good time to do it and they all appreciated it.

“Let me tell you, just because footballers are perceived to earn chunks of money – which they do compared to normal jobs – they still need a pat on the back at times. “A lot of them need a kick up the backside at times too, we know that, but sometimes it’s nice to say ‘well done lads, we’re going away because you’ve done well, go and enjoy a few days away’. That’s what it was.”

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