REACTION: McCarthy hails Murphy after striker scores twice in Fulham away win

Daryl Murphy celebrates his first goal at Fulham

Daryl Murphy celebrates his first goal at Fulham - Credit: Archant

Fulham v Ipswich: Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says his team fully deserved their 2-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

Championship leading scorer Daryl Murphy netted his 20th and 21st goals of the campaign to give the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead, the Blues holding on after Tommy Smith’s error allowed Ross McCormack to reduce the deficit in the 75th minute.

With Bournemouth held 1-1 at home to Huddersfield and both Middlesbrough and Derby in FA Cup action, the Blues have moved back to within two points of the automatic promotion places following back-to-back victories.

“It was a deserved win, I think,” said McCarthy. “We had some good chances, certainly in the first half. The reality is if they get a goal back the confidence will flow a bit more and it did through a mis-hit. It was a great finish by McCormack, and you’d expect that from a player of his ability, but we deserved to win.”

Even when Fulham pulled a goal back, Town did not panic and battled to final whistle.

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“We had a good shape to us today and we defended well,” said McCarthy. “I know what it’s like when you’re down there (towards the bottom of the table), it’s difficult to play and be full of confidence and it doesn’t always flow.

“You can see they’ve got good players, once or twice they opened us up in the first half, but we didn’t really have to deal with it because the final pass wasn’t great. Overall it was a really good performance by us.”

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Murphy, who broke his nose in the process of heading home the fifth minute opener and then produced a fine curling effort seconds before the break, is the first Blues player to net 20 league goals in a campaign since David Johnson in 1999/00.

“Freddie (Sears) is claiming the first one, I think, but I’m not bothered!” joked McCarthy, that goal going through a crowd of players. “ Murph got a really sore bang on his nose when he headed it. He’s doing well, isn’t he? He played well.”

Asked what has been the difference with Murphy this season, the 31-year-old having never been prolific, McCarthy replied: “I keep having to answer the same question and I keep answering it the same way. He’s settled, he’s got the number nine, he’s a centre forward he’s not playing wide left or wide right or doing anything else. He’s living in the area, he’s not on loan any more.

“He was given the number nine and he works damned hard with TC (striker coach Terry Connor) in front of goal. We’ve been here for two years so he’s been doing that work for two years and it’s paying off. TC is as good a coach as I’ve seen with the strikers he’s excellent.”

When informed of the other results, McCarthy said: “I keep saying; it’s what you end up with on May the second that matters. I said we’d have a tough time at some stage and that everyone else would have that too. We’ve recovered a bit with two wins on the bounce and now we’ve got to do it again next Saturday (at home to Reading).”

On striker Noel Hunt, who was stretchered off in injury time in some discomfort after falling awkwardly, McCarthy added: “He’s got a sore knee so I’m not going to make any judgements until Monday when it’s cooled down and we can get a scan done.”

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