Reaction: McCarthy feels ‘sick as a seaside donkey’ after 3-1 defeat at Norwich City puts Ipswich Town out of the Championship play-offs

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy applauds his team from the field. Photo: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy applauds his team from the field. Photo: Ashley Pickering - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says the time for proud reflection on this season will come – right now he feels ‘as sick as a seaside donkey’ after arch-rivals Norwich City denied the Blues a trip to Wembley.

The Championship semi-final tie between the East Anglian enemies remained on a knife’s edge at the three-quarter mark, the first leg having finished 1-1 at Portman Road before the Blues shaded a goalless first half at Carrow Road.

Then Christophe Berra was shown his marching orders for handling on the goalline, Wes Hoolahan netted from the penalty spot and the dynamic of the game changed completely.

The spirited visitors levelled through Tommy Smith’s poacher’s finish, but the Canaries ruthlessly used their extra man to good effect and sealed a 4-2 aggregate victory through goals from Nathan Redmond and Cameron Jerome.

McCarthy’s managerial play-off record now reads one win and six defeats, including two major tournament qualifier disappointments with the Republic of Ireland and second tier semi-final losses with Millwall, Sunderland, Wolves and Ipswich.

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With Canaries fans invading the field at the end, one directly gesturing rudely towards a defiant McCarthy as he waited to shake his players’ hands, the Blues boss said: “Listen, I’ve seen Middlesbrough cock-a-hoop on the pitch last night and the same with Norwich today. Well one of them is going to be as sick as a seaside donkey, just like I feel now. It makes no odds, they’ve got to win it.

“Even if we’d have won today and lost at Wembley I’d have still felt sick.

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“Good luck to the two of them. One of them is going to be coming back and seeing my kipper again next season though.”

He added: “There are some muppets who come on and want to abuse you but hey-ho. That’s generally from a distance. I hope they enjoyed themselves.

“I just wanted to make sure all my players came off safe and sound because there was an incident at Preston where Ian Evatt got kicked and spat on. I certainly didn’t want that happening to my players.

“There were some numptys running around and giving the usual w****r sign and all that. So what. It’s nothing. They’re generally not the bravest are they?”

Reflecting on the game, he said: “I do think it swings on two penalty decisions. We should have had one in the first half when Teddy Bishop is brought down. The second one is a stone waller, it’s a sending off and, with 10 men, we were highly unlikely to win, unfortunately.”

When it was suggested that his side were arguably the better team in the first half, he said: “We were, we were. I go back to the point. I don’t know what anybody else thinks in here, but I thought Teddy Bishop got clipped and it should be a penalty. I’ve got history with sort of thing. I seem to remember a game (as Sunderland manager) against Watford when something similar happened and we didn’t get one given. Not that I’ve got a long memory or anything.”

What has Berra said in the dressing room?

“He’s not said anything,” said the Blues boss. “They just asked me on TV ‘could he have pulled his hand away?’. Of course he should, in the cold light of day, but we’re kind of hard wired to stop the ball going in the net. It’s one of those things. He’s been brilliant Christophe. It’s a penalty, there’s nothing we can do about it now. There’s no point analysing the sending off now.”

And with the Blues showing typical fighting spirit to get themselves briefly back into the game, McCarthy said: “They’re great. We’re immensely proud of them, they’ve been fantastic all season and I couldn’t be any prouder of a group of a group of fellas. They’re hard-working, really professional and I think they’ve shown today what they’ve been about and why we’re in the play-offs when we were pretty unfancied at the start of the season.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match analysis and more reaction.

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