Reaction: McCarthy disappointed by ‘damp squib’ of an FA Cup tie – Town losing 1-0 at home to Southampton

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy - Credit: Archant

Ipswich v Southampton: Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy insists the mood in his camp is still high, despite tonight’s ‘damp squib’ of a match at Portman Road – the Blues losing 1-0 to Southampton in their eagerly-anticipated FA Cup third round replay.

Shane Long scored the game’s only goal in the 19th minute, with a smart finish, and the third-place Premier League side then eased to victory, Town huffing and puffing in front of a BBC One television audience and boosted crowd of 27,933.

It was the second match in a row that the Suffolk side had failed to do themselves justice in front of the cameras, the 1-0 home loss to promotion rivals Derby County last Saturday also a forgettable affair, but McCarthy is not concerned ahead of four league games against teams in the bottom six of the Championship table (Millwall away, Brighton away, Wigan at home, Rotherham away).

“I’m always disappointed when we lose,” said the Blues boss. “The game, I thought, was a bit of a damp squib.

“We were okay until they scored, then they killed the game. They’re a good Premier League team. They’ve only conceded 15 goals in the league, playing against teams better than us, and they didn’t give us many chances tonight.

“I don’t think either goalkeeper has been worked too much to be honest.”

He continued: “It’s disappointing for us all. Someone said to me after Saturday ‘oh, I’m really disappointed’. Well we all are! We did not want that game to be like that. We wanted a rip-roaring Cup tie. They didn’t allow it to happen though.

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“Maybe we should give a bit of credit to them. It’s not always us to blame. We have tried our hardest, as we always do, but they’re a damn good side.

“I watched them beat Arsenal, I watched them beat Manchester United. It’s no great shame on us that we’ve lost to Southampton. The pity, I guess, is that we didn’t get the exciting Cup tie we were all hoping for.”

Will the last two results affect his players ahead of Saturday’s trip to struggling Millwall (who lost 4-0 at League One side Bradford tonight)?

“I’m often concerned when I get asked that question,” said McCarthy. “It’s like we’re all so weak minded that we can’t cope when we get beaten. We were beaten by a good side on Saturday – there was nothing in it and it came down to a mistake. And I think we’ve competed against Southampton tonight.

“I don’t know what the mood in the Millwall camp will be like, but I can tell you that the mood in our camp is good – despite two defeats.”

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman said: “It was a very serious performance from us tonight. It was lucky that we scored with our first chance of the game. After that we defended well and there was good organisation in the team.

“It was a typical English Cup game – long balls. But it was a great performance from the lads.”

Meanwhile, McCarthy confirmed that striker Conor Sammon will be returning to parent club Derby County in order to join another team on loan for the rest of the season.

“Conor came here to play games,” said the Blues boss. “He did to start with, but hasn’t played much of late. He wants to progress his career. He had 12 months at Derby last year not playing games. Other clubs want him so it would be completely unfair for us to keep hold of him and deprive him of playing.

“I’ve still got Hunty (Noel Hunt) as back-up to David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy. I’ll be looking for another striker though because the squads so thin at the moment.”

With McGoldrick cutting a frustrated figure in recent games, trying to force things in an attempt to rediscover his goalscoring form of last season, McCarthy said: “It’s difficult when it’s just not going for you. Something will change for him, he’ll get his goal and it will come again. He’s still putting his shift in, he’s still playing well.”

On a more positive note, midfielder Kevin Bru put in another impressive display. “I’m really pleased with Kevin,” said McCarthy. “He and Balint Bajner walked in the door on free transfers from abroad in the summer. Balint’s not done as well, but Kevin’s been excellent whenever he’s played. I’m really pleased with him.”

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