Mick McCarthy rejects claims that he sets up for stalemates

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy dismisses the notion he sets his teams up with the priority of not l

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy dismisses the notion he sets his teams up with the priority of not losing. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy dismisses claims that he sets up his sides not to lose, rather than looking to win.

Tommy Smith could return to the Ipswich Town team tonight. Photo: PAGEPIX

Tommy Smith could return to the Ipswich Town team tonight. Photo: PAGEPIX

The Blues boss has faced criticism for perceived negative tactics in a season which has seen his side draw 16 of their 39 Championship games.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s visit of second-bottom Wigan to Portman Road, he said: “I’ve never once set off to just try to not get beat. I’ve always set up to try and win the game, whatever you or anybody else thinks about performances. That is the intention, we set off to win the games.

“But on the other side of that, it’s important not to get beaten. (Birmingham manager) Gianfranco Zola came upstairs and said on Saturday that it was a ‘must not get beaten’ game rather than a must-win.”

Asked if Saturday’s 1-1 home draw against Birmingham has turned the pressure up a notch, he replied: “It’s not added any more pressure to me because I’ve never thought ‘I’m not really bothered if we don’t win this one’. Irrespective of where we are in the league – whether we are near the top, in the middle or near the bottom – we want to win every game. I guess when the games start dripping away then it gets a little bit more important though.”

Cole Skuse suffered concussion in Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Birmingham and has been ruled out of

Cole Skuse suffered concussion in Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Birmingham and has been ruled out of tonight's game. Photo: Steve Waller. - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller


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With Town having won just twice this calender year, McCarthy continued: “I’m not comfortable with a six-point gap (to the relegation zone) at all.

“The ones who are in are fighting for their lives find some form at this stage, we see that every season. They get a result from somewhere, they still might end up going down, but they’ll find a result and performance and Wigan nearly did on Saturday (losing 2-1 at Newcastle).

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“Coventry have just won the cup (Checkatrade Trophy) at Wembley and they are going to get relegated (from League One) – that sums it up for me. Crystal Palace went to Chelsea and beat them. That’s why you all report on it and all the fans come. Fans do love an upset.”

Only bottom two Rotherham and Wigan have scored fewer goals than Ipswich, in the Championship, this season.

Wigan have lost to Aston Villa and Newcastle but played positively under caretaker manager Graham Ba

Wigan have lost to Aston Villa and Newcastle but played positively under caretaker manager Graham Barrow. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

“I’ll have a look at what that’s down to when we finish,” said McCarthy. “Is it poor crossing, poor passing, poor finishing? Do we have chances? I’d say we do. I think it’s a lot of things.

“In the past if we had scored a goal and gone 1-0 up we’d have pretty much held onto it and kept it out, but we’ve given some sloppy ones away.”

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