McCarthy on ‘worst game I’ve seen for long time’, unrealistic expectations and finished business
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Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admitted that this afternoon’s scrappy 1-1 draw at Bolton Wanderers was ‘the worst game I’ve seen for a long time’.
After an error-strewn goalless first half, Gary Madine ghosted in at the back post to put the relegation-fighting Trotters ahead in the 53rd minute.
Town looked a beaten side until a slick, one-touch move ended with Joe Garner bundling the ball home from close range in the 82nd minute. The Blues finally came alive and almost snatched victory when Martyn Waghorn left the woodwork rattling with a fine strike in the last minute.
“I think 1-1 is a fair reflection, yeah,” said McCarthy, whose side remain 12th in the Championship table ahead of next Saturday’s visit of leaders Wolves. “And I think, possibly, it’s the worst game I’ve seen all season.”
He continued: “They are no mugs and they didn’t make it easy for us. They are a big, strong, powerful team. Neither of us played well.
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“Actually, we played great football from 1-0 down. When we went 1-0 down a football team turned up and we passed it around and played well then.
“Up until that point though, as I said, it was the worst football game I’ve seen all season and for a long time – it was horrible.”
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Asked why his team had left it so long to respond, he replied: “I guess when games start getting stretched and people start getting tired then the quality can show. We score a good equaliser and then Waggy hits the post.
“In general we had to scrap it out though. It was a tough old game. Both teams worked extremely hard to stop each other playing. It was only with half an hour to go that we actually played.”
He continued: “I’d always take it (a point). We come up and here and I don’t know what it is… Do people think this is Ipswich Town with Sir Bobby Robson still involved and all those players and that we’re a top, top team who should come to Bolton and beat them?
“I don’t think that’s the case. I think Bolton are full of Championship experience. They are having a bit of resurgence and are tough to play here.
“I’ve never had an easy game here. At the end of it I’ll take the point and go home with it in my pocket.”
Town handed debuts to their two new signings. Young defender Cameron Carter-Vickers played the whole game at centre-back after arriving on loan from Tottenham, while 29-year-old midfielder Stephen Gleeson – a free transfer from Birmingham – impressed after replacing the injured Cole Skue at half-time.
“I was really pleased with Cam,” said McCarthy. “It’s not an easy one playing against Madine. He’s on fire, he scores his goals and is such a big unit, but I thought Cam and Chambo (Luke Chambers) played well.
“Stephen Gleeson was the outstanding player when he came on. I thought he was a mile above anyone else in terms of getting it and passing it.
“There was a bit of quality when he turned them around and put passes up the side of them. He was involved in the goal and played well.
“I saw a comment that ‘fans were underwhelmed’ by his signing. That’s why they are the fans and that’s why I’m the manager.
“We’ve taken his contract, he’s our player until the end of the season and he’s got a chance of staying longer because he’s quality.
“We needed him. Luke Hyam is back but he’s played one game in 18 months. Tristan Nydam is back, but he’s only 18. Flynn (Downes) is not yet back. Tom Adeyemi is not yet back. Skusey has come off again today with a knock on his ankle again today.”
Asked if that was his January business complete, the Blues boss said: “I think so. I don’t think we’ll be taking anybody in. I think we’ve got a front four who are doing well, Freddie (Sears) comes on and is always a threat, while I’m pleased with Aaron Drinan and would have no problems playing him.
“I think that’s us. I’m hoping to get Adam (Webster) back soon and of course Jordan Spence is available again now after his suspension.”
He added: “Tommy(Smith) will be moving on (to Colorado Rapids). It’s a good opportunity for him, he wants to play first team football and we can use that salary to get somebody else in now.”
On the addition of Carter-Vickers, he explained: “We’ve been spinning plates for the last two, maybe three weeks. Bryan Klug (who worked at Tottenham’s academy) came and said to me Thursday morning ‘would you like to sign Cameron Carter-Vickers?’ and I said ‘why, has he left Sheffield United?’ When he told me he was available I said ‘yes’.
“I’ve been impressed whenever I’ve seen him. He’s not the biggest, he’s not 6ft 4in, but he jumps, he heads it, he’s tough and he’s powerful. He’ll play a lot better than he did today because the game did nobody any favours for 60 minutes.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy confirmed that Manchester City loaneen Bersant Celina will be staying at Town for the season amid reports he could be recalled and moved on.