Mick McCarthy says he will never lose his pragmatic edge

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has warned his critics that he is never going to change ahead of this afternoon’s Championship match at his former club Wolves.

The Blues were booed off the field following their uninspiring 1-0 defeat to Rotherham a fortnight ago, with many supporters unhappy with the negative line-up. So often McCarthy looks to counter-act the opposition – regardless of where they are in the table – and then try and nick a goal later in the game.

It’s pragmatic, percentage football which splits opinion. McCarthy rightly points out that over the course of his managerial career it has always had his sides consistently competitive, while a growing number of fans are understandably saying his approach simply does not provide enough entertainment value.

“I’m not going to lose that side of me,” said McCarthy, his team four points adrift of the play-off places with eight games to go. “I’m 57 now and I’ve had that pragmatic edge to me all my life.

“It’s very hard to change the way you are, to completely flip and do something mad and different, to suddenly have both centre-halves outside the 18 yard box rolling it to each other. I know what would happen, we’d roll it back to Bart (Bialkowski) and everyone would shout and moan. That isn’t going to happen, that’s not going to change.”

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Third favourite among many bookies to take over at crisis club Aston Villa, McCarthy used that situation to remind people how he is respected within the game this week. His comments about personal ambition were clearly a ‘be careful what you wish for’ message to supporters and, perhaps, also another subtle hint to owner Marcus Evans that he needs more transfer funds to progress the club further.

Reflecting on the perilous situation Ipswich were in when he took charge in November 2012, he said: “My pragmatic side is probably why we are in eighth position and four points off the play-offs when we may well have been in League One.

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“We stayed up with 50-odd points in the first year because of my pragmatic side, we did ninth, then we did sixth and now we’re in eighth because of the way I do it and how I do it. Unfortunately if we don’t win it’s not pretty and it’s not nice, but hey-ho.”

He added: “Yeah, we were awful against Rotherham, but I’m not going to sit here and take it that one dreadful, p*** poor performance is representative of my season or my time here or my players’ time this season. I’m not having that, in any shape or form, off anybody. Not a chance.”

– See today’s EADT for full match preview. Log on at 2pm for team news and live match updates.

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