Millwall 3 Ipswich Town 4 reaction: Mick McCarthy in dreamland after perfect start continues
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Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy admits he never dreamed his side would have started the season this well.
The Blues made it four wins from four in all competitions by edging a seven-goal thriller at Millwall last night, Jordan Spence heading home in the 88th minute of a frenetic, topsy-turvy, highly-entertaining encounter.
Martyn Waghorn scored twice on his full debut, while Joe Garner made it eight goals from his first nine games in a Town shirt if you include a prolific pre-season.
Along with Cardiff and Wolves, Town are one of three Championship sides to have maximum points on the board. This is the first time the Blues have won their opening four matches since the promotion campaign of 1999/00.
It’s just the fast start that was required to blow away the ill-feeling which surrounded a dire 2016/17.
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Asked if he’d dreamed the campaign would start so well, McCarthy admitted: “No, I didn’t. I hope it has brought some feelgood factor back, I would think it has.
“The lads have been great in all the games and yet we got really lucky on Saturday (2-1 win at Barnsley). We got away with murder in the first half there and we were under pressure for a bit tonight too. There’s a certain thing about staying with it when you’re having a tough time though. They’re a belligerent bunch who are hard to beat, which is nice.”
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He continued: “Thankfully I can enjoy it because we’re the team that’s won the game, but it could have been different. We’ve had to withstand a barrage in the second half.
“They were a real handful. When they put the big fella on (Tom Elliott) I kept looking at my bench and thinking I might need to put two on to deal with him – one to stand on the other’s shoulders!
“They haven’t been beaten here for a long, long time and I don’t think they will get beat here too often. I hope they don’t, as someone who started their managerial career here, but I’m glad we beat them tonight.
“Our front four – actually I should say front five because (Grant) Wardy was part of that – were excellent, but we’ve conceded three and that’s disappointing. The irony is a defender has won it for us. Happy days!”
With Waghorn and Garner having been recruited from Rangers for a combined £1m, ex-Celtic defender McCarthy joked: “I had a good time in Glasgow. We nicked the cup off Rangers and I’ve just nicked two strikers from them as well!
“I knew Martyn was a good player, but he’s better than I thought he was.”
Town’s latest win came with no fewer than 10 players being sidelined – Dean Gerken (ill), Adam Webster (ankle), Tommy Smith (back), Emyr Huws (Achilles), Tom Adeyemi (illness), Andre Dozzell (knee), Teddy Bishop (groin), Flynn Downes (calf), Bersant Celina (ill) and Luke Hyam (ankle).
“When they all come back we’ll be rubbish,” joked McCarthy, who named a bench of players with an average age of 20. “I would have loved to have done something to try and cope with what we were having to cope with in the second half. I kept turning around and looking (at the bench), but I had the best team out there. I thought about lots of things, but we didn’t do anything and we got away with it.”