REACTION: McCarthy frustrated but also encouraged by 1-1 home draw with Brentford

Ipswich town v Brentford
Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy

Ipswich town v Brentford Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy - Credit: Lucy taylor

Ipswich v Brentford: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy admits he was frustrated but also encouraged by his side’s 1-1 home draw with top-six rivals Brentford this afternoon.

In an entertaining game, Daryl Murphy’s scrambled ninth minute opener was cancelled out by Jonathan Douglas’ header (25). Town then created several openings in the second period – Murphy producing a contender for miss of the season – while the lively visitors were always a threat on the counter.

A draw means that the Blues remain one point and one spot behind the sixth-placed Bees heading into the final 10 games of the campaign, a trip to fourth-place Middlesbrough next on the agenda.

“We had chances, but we didn’t take them,” rued McCarthy. “That’s the price you pay. It makes it frustrating, but I was delighted with the way we played.

“They leave three up at corners, that’s risk versus reward, and we scored from one. They were always a threat on the break, constantly, and they played some good football.

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“Brentford are a good side. At the end it was important we didn’t lose the game. We always go into every game looking to win, but today I’ll take the point and we’ll just keep pecking away at all those above us and keep trying to get enough points to stay in the play-offs.”

Asked if Murphy – who now has 22 goals for the season – will see his miss in his nightmares, McCarthy quipped: “He will because everybody is asking me about it and so he’ll be reading it and hearing about it! He doesn’t need that.

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“He’s been remarkable this season, he’s scored some unlikely goals along the way and today he’s missed one you’d never expect him to miss. It’s football; that’s just the way it is. I’ve just ruffled his hair and said ‘come on, go and score the winner at Middlesbrough’. There’s nowt he can do about that now.”

With Brentford keeper David Button making a smart one-on-one stop from Murphy and strong near post save from Teddy Bishop, McCarthy continued: “He did make some good saves. Somebody has just asked me if I’m disappointed. No, I’m not. I’m more frustrated that we haven’t won, but I was delighted with the performance.

“If we continue to play like that we’ll get more good results than bad ones and should be in the mix for the promotion spots, whether that be the top two or six.

With the Championship top four – Bournemouth, Derby, Watford and Middlesbrough – all locked on 66 points, the Blues boss said: “The league’s bonkers. Derby have drawn today, Middlesbrough have lost. Maybe we should be more worried about the ones pecking beneath us (Wolves and Nottingham Forest) than the ones above us.

“That’s the way it is. It’s going to be right to the very last game, the very last minute probably.”

With his team having lost 2-0 at Norwich last Sunday and then got back in Suffolk in the early hours of Thursday morning following a 2-1 midweek defeat at Leeds, McCarthy added: “Given the week we’ve had I think the lads put in a really good shift against a side who move the ball around well. It was half three when I climbed into my bed on Thursday morning. I didn’t hang around, I just took my trainers off and climbed straight into bed with my tracksuit still on. The alarm went off at seven o’clock – it was a microwave sleep.

“They’re just remarkable the players, the way they have gone about their jobs day-in, day-out. I can’t applaud them enough. To have recovered as well as they have and gone again, playing as well as they did, deserves some credit.”

When it was put to McCarthy that, despite all the positives, this could end up proving to be two points dropped, he replied: “I hate to state the obvious, but it is two points dropped. There were chances at both ends though and it could yet end up proving to be a point gained. Maybe that’s why I’m still doing this job because I tend to look on the positives rather than the negatives.”

Brentford boss Mark Warburton said: “Everyone is saying we should be thankful to get the point. I didn’t see that game, to be honest.

“I thought Ipswich started really hard and fast at start of both halves. We knew that would be the case, but once we conceded we responded well, got the equaliser and got stronger and stronger.

“It was quite difficult to shift it quickly on that surface, but I think when we did that we looked like a good team. They had that good chance at the second half, but I think we posed them problems and looked a dangerous team.”

He added: “Just look at the results today and how tight this league. We have one of our promotion rivals to play, Derby away, but every fixture is important. There will be points gained and points dropped along the way. Let’s just see where we end up on May the second.”

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