Monday verdict: Sour grapes are the ultimate compliment
Another week, another set of sour grapes from an opposition manager – it’s the ultimate compliment to Ipswich Town and serves as further proof that their Championship promotion credentials are 100% bona fide.
Second-place Bournemouth played some sexy football at a packed Dean Court on Saturday, but they were denied a sixth straight home win across all competitions as Mick McCarthy’s side – put together on a far smaller budget – twice came from behind to secure a battling 2-2 draw.
Teenager Teddy Bishop scored his first senior goal with a cool finish and Daryl Murphy emphatically headed home his 11th of the campaign, Town then clinging on during a nervy 12 minutes of stoppage-time to move back up to fourth in the table.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe bemoaned the referee waving away penalty appeals for his side at 2-2, highlighted how well his team had played and insisted Ipswich came away with a point they ‘perhaps didn’t deserve’.
It echoed Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic laughably referring to ‘physicality’ and ‘long balls’ following his side’s 1-0 loss at Portman Road prior to the international break.
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Blues boss Mick McCarthy won’t care one bit though. He’s too long in the tooth for that. Just as he knows that Premier League scouts watching his side is an endorsement of the fantastic job he’s doing, he’s also aware that upset opposite numbers are a sign of success.
During his first 18 months in charge of the club, Town played some uneasy-on-the-eye, needs-must, functional football. A stereotype has worked its way around the football world, but it no longer applies. This team has evolved. They deserve more credit and respect than they are getting.
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At Portman Road they are taking responsibility and getting on the front foot, away from home they are still more than happy to grind out results.
Winning the vast majority of home games and drawing more than you lose on your travels has long been the perfect formula for promotion. Right now, therefore, the statistics are encouraging.
Town have dropped just seven points from a possible 27 at Portman Road. They have won at Wigan (23rd) and Blackpool (24th), drawing at Derby (1st), Bournemouth (2nd), Nottingham Forest (8th), Sheffield Wednesday (13th) and Birmingham (19th).
McCarthy openly admits that he wouldn’t bother getting on the coach if you were to offer him a draw at Charlton this Saturday.
Let others sneer. Town fans know they have a team to be proud of.
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