Reaction: Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 1 – Mick McCarthy: ‘I’ll take another display like that at Carrow Road’

Ipswich Town v Norwich City FC.
Sky Bet Championship.

Ipswich Town v Norwich City FC. Sky Bet Championship. - Credit: Archant

Blues boss Mick McCarthy expects next Saturday’s play-off semi-final second leg against Norwich City to be as tight as this afternoon’s 1-1 draw at Portman Road.

The high stakes East Anglian derby was frenetic, hard fought and pretty even throughout, Jonny Howson putting the visitors in front with a neat side-foot finish in the 41st minute before sub Paul Anderson rammed home a leveller deep into first half stoppage-time.

“I would say it was a terrific game actually, a real hard fought game,” said McCarthy. “Whether it was a good football match I don’t know? But it’s two teams competing for a big prize. It’s never going to be wide open expansive football, but it was very, very competitive. There was no nastiness in it; it was just players going at it hammer and tong within the rules. I thought it was a good game.

“I’ve always been proud of my team. I’m full of admiration for the way they have gone about their business for 46 games. To go behind, when we were actually playing well, and then come back shows everything what my team is all about.

“We’d like to be in front, of course we would, but it’s the full-time result that counts. Now we’ve got to win at Norwich.”

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Reminded that his team had won at the likes of Watford and Brentford, and drawn at the likes of Bournemouth,. Wolves and Derby this season, McCarthy joked: “I see you bring all the good ones up! We lost at Huddersfield and Blackburn... It’s true though, we have had big results away from home.

“They’ve got to be the slight favourites. They’ve got a good side and they’re at home. It doesn’t always work out that way though, as we know.

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“I’d settle for us playing like that again. I settle for another game like that, If we perform as well as we have today then we’ll be alright.”

He continued: “If we had to go there and attack, attack, attack then that would leave us vulnerable, but it could now be a very nervy affair from both teams. One goal could be the difference.

“Whether it’s a mistake by a player, a bit of brilliance, a mistake by a referee. I have to say actually, I thought the referee (Anthony Taylor) was brilliant today. I don’t think it was a foul on Tommy Smith (leading up to Norwich’s goal), I think Tommy slipped and Cameron Jerome just got his foot in. I thought he handled it well and I hope we have a referee that handles it well next week too.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy revealed that forward Luke Varney’s innocuous first half injury was as bad as first feared.

“We think he’s snapped his Achilles,” he said, when asked about the Blackburn loanee, who went down with no-one around him. “He’s in there on gas and air at the minute. I hope the drugs testers don’t do him now he’s had all that.

“He’s in bits the poor lad. He’s been wonderful, ever since the minute he came through the door. All them loanees have really contributed. He’s such a great guy and we’ll have to look after him.

“It’s a big blow for us because I won’t have a player for next week and maybe Wembley. More than that though, it’s a big blow for him.”

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