Mick McCarthy won’t let a blame culture develop at Ipswich Town

Cole Skuse and Grant Ward react during Ipswich Town's defeat to Nottingham Forest. Picture: Steve Wa

Cole Skuse and Grant Ward react during Ipswich Town's defeat to Nottingham Forest. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says he will never let a blame culture develop in his dressing room.

Following three years of steady progress, the Blues have stagnated on and off the field in 2016, with the mood surrounding the club having turned increasingly sour in recent weeks.

Town host Queens Park Rangers today (3pm) having been booed off the field following their last two outings at Portman Road – a 2-2 draw with rock-bottom Rotherham and a 2-0 televised defeat to struggling Nottingham Forest last Saturday courtesy of some shambolic defending and lack of attacking nous.

Asked if any of his players had demanded more from each other in the dressing room last weekend, the team having slipped to 17th in the Championship table, McCarthy replied: “I don’t mind players doing that, but I wonder what players you think would be having a go at each other?

“That kind of stuff, ‘come on we need to improve’, is a real generic comment that means nothing unless there is any substance to it or any more thought behind that. How do we need to improve?

“So no, there wasn’t players shouting at each other. It’s me that does the speaking generally. Sometimes there are a few that speak out, but I’m not into finger pointing. That’s nonsense because they’ve all made mistakes at some stage, me included.

“I’ve been in teams when it starts going wrong and can see how that blame game develops.

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“It’s always; the front men don’t get service from the back guys, the midfield players never pass it, or the midfielders are by-passed, or when the ball gets up there it is never laid off to the midfield players because the centre-forwards aren’t that good, and the wingers don’t cross it, and the full-backs don’t give it to the wingers and the centre-halves, well, they’re just s***!

“I’ve been in teams where that does happen, but I wouldn’t have that happen here. There’s none of that going on.

“Screaming and shouting at people, whether that’s players doing it to players or me doing it, is not helpful. The only time I do it is when someone has not tried or somebody has done something completely different to what I’ve been asking them to do. It’s only then that I might take a few stripes off someone.”

Asked what the Monday morning post-mortem was like, McCarthy explained: “I don’t normally do it as a squad, but I did on this occasion. I showed them a number of things – it wasn’t just the goals conceded, it was also the fact we had loads of crosses in the box and at some stage somebody is going to have to get on the end of one and score. “That was done by me on Monday collectively. We didn’t watch the whole game back though – we didn’t have to.

“We then picked bits out and showed them individually, which is a lot easier and a lot more constructive doing it that way. TC (assistant manager Terry Connor) does that because sometimes it’s better coming from a coach.”

Expanding further on his philosophy of giving players feedback individually rather than as part of a group, the Blues boss continued: “Whenever you concede a goal somebody has always made a mistake somewhere. That doesn’t mean to say that he’s played that badly and it’s all down to him though. I’ve been there; when you make that mistake you know you’ve made that mistake, you don’t need it to be shown in front of everyone else in order to embarrass you.

“No matter how you dress it up as constructive criticism or positive feedback, it’s criticism, that’s what it is, and that’s what they see it as. They’ve all seen it back though, yes, and the people involved in the goals, of course, have seen that.”

– Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.

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