Reaction: McCarthy on ‘poor’ performance, lack of goals and trio of fresh injuries

Brett Pitman is injured in a collision with Leeds defender Pontus Jannson

Brett Pitman is injured in a collision with Leeds defender Pontus Jannson

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy conceded his team were ‘poor’ in today’s 1-0 defeat at Leeds United and admitted a lack of goals is a concern.

After former Town loanee Chris Wood headed home from close-range in the 35th minute a comeback never looked likely and the margin of victory could and should have been greater for the home side.

The Blues didn’t produce their first shot on target until the 88th minute. Since beating Barnsley 4-2 on the opening weekend of the season, they have scored just four goals in their last nine matches.

Asked for his assessment of the match, McCarthy simply replied: “Leeds deserved to win.”

And when it was put to him that there hadn’t been much between the teams until the opening goal, he said: “I agree with you.”

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But then Leeds took over for the rest of the match...

“I don’t think the second half started that way, to be honest with you, in fact I know it didn’t,” he replied, eventually elaborating.

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“They are a good side and they’ve got good players. Chris Wood was outstanding today, he was the focal point and the big difference in the teams because when they hit it up to him it stuck up there and he ran the channels. He showed why he’s had good moves and he’s a good player.

“They deserved it.”

Now down to 14th in the table, Town have scored eight and conceded eight in their opening nine league games.

Is McCarthy concerned about the lack of goals being scored and created?

“Well, you have to give the opposition some credit sometimes,” he said. “But we were poor with the ball today, really poor. The free-kick at the end summed that up. Freddie (Sears) hit the target twice last weekend (from free-kicks), and maybe this one was too close, but we let them off the hook there. You get the one late chance and we could have nicked a goal out of it.

“Would it have been deserved? No. Would I have cared? No. But you’ve got to hit the target and we didn’t. That kind of summed us up today.”

Does he put the frustrations of this display on a par with the second-half showing in the limp 2-0 defeat at Brentford?

“I’ve not had that many frustrations so far this season in terms of performances,” he said. “There was Brentford away second half... But we were poor today second half. We were poor today. That was a poor performance.

“I am frustrated. I always am when we don’t play well.”

To add to Town’s woes they had three players substituted with injuries today – Adam Webster (hamstring), Grant Ward (knee) and Brett Pitman (ankle/knee). They join Tommy Smith, Jonny Williams, Teddy Bishop David McGoldrick and Luke Varney in the treatment room.

Will any of today’s injured trio be fit for Tuesday’s visit of Brighton?

“No, probably not. It’s impossible for any of them I think,” said McCarthy. “Roll on the international break I would say so I can get some back.”

How stretched does McCarthy think his squad will be now there is no option to loan players between windows?

“Well, you’ve seen today what we’ve got on the bench in terms of back-up – Josh (Emmanuel) and Myles (Kenlock) the two defenders. Josh did alright when he came on and put one great cross in.

“We’ve got Dozza (Andre Dozzell), Bish will be alright for Tuesday, Conor (Grant) too.

“We came here with 19 players, we’ll be tipping up with 16 on Tuesday.”

Quizzed once more on whether there is enough goal threat in his team, he said: “I thought there was at Brentford, certainly against Barnsley we did, Aston Villa there was nothing until the last 10 minutes for either side, Norwich we had chances, Wolves we played well and had chances...

“But it is a concern not scoring goals, of course.”

With Leon Best now set to start up front, McCarthy said: “I thought he did well Besty, I was pleased with him. He was a threat in a difficult game. We didn’t get the ball up to him, but he worked hard and I was pleased with what he did.”

Skipper Luke Chambers will return to his favoured role of centre-back too. McCarthy has suggested in the past it would take the defender time to re-adjust, after playing so long at right-back. Does he expect that to still be the case. He replied: “He’ll be fine.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for comment and analysis.

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