McCarthy on recurring themes, ‘overachieving’ and mounting injuries after 1-0 loss at Wolves
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‘Defensively good, offensively not good enough’ – that was Mick McCarthy’s assessment following Ipswich Town’s 1-0 defeat at Championship league-leaders Wolves this afternoon.
Ivan Cavaleiro’s deadly finish five minutes before the break proved the difference, with Town well-organised against the multi-million pounds hosts but rarely looking like scoring themselves either.
“Certainly in terms of a defensive performance I think it was good,” said McCarthy, whose team drop to 10th but remain two points adrift of the play-off places at the halfway stage of the season.
“We limited them to very few opportunities. I know near the end they could have scored a couple, but that was me winging it then with five minutes to go when they’ve got fresh legs on. To try and get an equaliser I’m prepared to concede another one, which I think is fair enough.
“Defensively we’ve done really well, but offensively we were not good enough. We had limited opportunities that we didn’t make the most of. Our free-kicks and corners today weren’t of the usual high standard, so that’s something that needs to be addressed.”
Town players complained that Myles Kenlock – in for the ill Jonas Knudsen – was fouled in the build-up to the goal, but an ever-honest McCarthy said: “My criticism is that (Diogo) Jota didn’t end up on his arse and my player did. I know people are screaming for a foul, I think if it had happened the other way around they’d have been screaming for a foul, but, no, no, we’ve just got to do better there.
“I thought Myles was excellent up until him being put on his backside. He’s gone to go and get the ball and Jota is cute and just eased him off it. I’d like to have thought that Myles would have been the one easing him off it.
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“We blinked after 40 minutes again. It could be Middlesbrough (2-0 away defeat), it could be Cardiff (3-1 away defeat), where we’ve done well against teams but it’s us who let our guard down. It’s a good finish mind.”
He continued: “Overall I think we can take a lot out of that performance.
“The lads are great. Listen, Wolves are a very good side. What impresses me most about them is that they do get 1-0 wins. They scrap it out as well. I’m happy enough with the performance, I’m just disappointed with the result.
“If you let your guard down and the opposition have got quality players then you get punished and that’s just what happened.
“But I’ve got Patrick Webber on the bench, I’ve had to call Adam McDonnell back from Aldershot, I’ve got James Blanchfield and (Ben) Morris in the travelling squad. Considering that we’ve played well today and competed well.”
Asked if his side’s performances in the first half of the campaign had given him heart for the months ahead, he replied: “I’ve never had anything ut heart. The only time I had any doubt was when we got beat six at Charton before we started (friendly) and I had to change the way we played and we won the first five on the bounce.
“Pretty much, overall, we’ve been in every game bar a couple. That’s been the same today.
“We’re doing alright. You always hope to do better, but realistically we are doing as well as we could have hoped to be in this position at this moment. Considering what we’ve done and the players that we’ve signed, when you look at the budget here (at Wolves) now, it’s maybe us overachieving. Look at some of the teams we are above. I think my lads have been brilliant.
“Fulham turned us over (2-0 loss at Portman Road), but they are the only ones to do that. Even Bristol City at our place (3-1 loss) scored with a couple of deflections. Then you look at Leeds away (3-2 loss), Cardiff away (3-1 loss), Villa away (2-0 loss)... We’ve just got to stop letting our guard down. It was a great finish today, but us giving them the opportunity is not what I’d expect from my team.”
asked if his team can keep over-achieving in the second half of the campaign, McCarthy – who had 10 players injured or unavailable today – replied: “I sincerely hope we can. I need some players back from injury. If I end up travelling with 15 first team players every week then probably not, but if I get some players back then hopefully yes.
“Kev (Bru) came in and did a really solid job today, but he ran out of gas though and I’m not sure we’ll get two games Saturday-Tuesday out of him.
“I’ve exchanged text messages with Jonas (Knudsen) this morning. He’s a tough old so-and-so, as is Skusey (Cole Skuse), they are both very durable, but I’m not sure if they’ll be okay (for Boxing Day visit of QPR). Skusey has got a sore ankle and it depends how Knudsen reacts to eating.”