Reaction: McCarthy says Bristol City are ‘better than the table suggests’ after rock-bottom visitors hold Ipswich to 2-2 draw

Luke Chambers had given Ipswich the lead, at the start of the second half. Picture by Steve Waller

Luke Chambers had given Ipswich the lead, at the start of the second half. Picture by Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy would rather give the opposition credit than criticise his own team following this afternoon’s 2-2 home draw with Bristol City.

Having led through Luke Chambers’ header less than a minute into the second half, the Blues conceded two soft goals against the Championship’s rock-bottom club to trail 2-1. McCarthy’s men enjoyed plenty of possession, but for the most part huffed and puffed before Ryan Fraser rescued a point with a close-range finish in the 86th minute.

All that came after a forgettable first period in which the Blues, 10 of whom were rested for the Capital One Cup defeat at Manchester United in midweek, started labouriously.

The entire Town squad travelled to Old Trafford for the experience and didn’t get back to Suffolk until half past three on Thursday morning. McCarthy, however, says the slow start was more down to the Robins’ wing-back system.

“That (the slow start) was probably the shape of the team,” he said. “I was tempted to change and play 4-3-3 against them and I went that way after 10 minutes because we couldn’t get the press on. That made it difficult for the lads.

“There was always that hope that we would start well, start aggressively and powerfully, but I think Bristol had a part to play in that, not only us.”

Summing up his thoughts on the match, Town now down to seventh in the table after claiming five points from their last five league games, he said: “I thought they started well and Gerks (Dean Gerken) made a fantastic save to keep us in it early on.

Most Read

“I had to change the shape of the team, and when I did we got to grips with it and I thought we were the better team in the first half. We started brilliantly second half and, having scored, the deflection (Luke Freeman’s leveller coming off Tommy Smith) is a real kick in the ging-gangs.

“It was a large slice of luck, don’t you think? I’m not so sure his shot was going to reach until it took the deflection. If you get that break then good luck to the opposition. I can’t do anything about that. We’d take it if we get it. We should have done better to stop him getting in there though.

“Then their second... It’s a good goal by them (Jonathan Kodjia bursting beyond Christophe Berra and Jonas Knudsen) but poor defending from us.

“I have to admire the response we had to get back in the game though. I was delighted with the way the lads kept going. We’ve had plenty of chances to win that game.”

Bristol City, who have claimed six points from their nine games back at second-tier level, have slipped to the bottom of the pile.

“I think they are a better side than the table suggests,” said McCarthy. “They’re no mugs. They can play and I didn’t think they were as wide open today, The three defenders were far more diligent and weren’t rampaging up the field. They were a far more solid unit today.

“They’re a handful. They play real open football and make you defend. It’s a point in the end and a good point I think. We were losing with five minutes to go, but Ryan Fraser was on the move in the box and not stood still. He deserves it because I thought he had a great game.

“Listen, I’ll take the point.”

Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill said: “I’m a little bit disappointed, if I’m totally honest, because I thought we should have gone on and won the game.

“If someone had told me beforehand that we would come to Ipswich and get a draw then I’d have probably taken it, but at 2-1 we stopped playing. That was the disappointment, because I think if we’d have carried on playing with courage we’d have gone on and got a third.

“The one thing you can’t afford to do is let them get a tempo to their game because eventually they’ll wear you down.

“You get punished more at this level. Last season, with all due respect, you haven’t got strikers on 20, 30, 40, 50 grand a week. You have in the Championship. You get burnt by them.

“It’s a 12 to 15 game adjustment, just the speed of thought for our guys. My emotions are of disappointment at the moment, but on the journey home I’ll probably think, all in all, it’s a good point at Ipswich. I just think about what we could have had so there’s that tinge of disappointment.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter