Reaction: McCarthy says draw was a ‘fair result’

Thumbs up from Town manager Mick McCarthy after the Ipswich Town v Aston Villa (Championship) match

Thumbs up from Town manager Mick McCarthy after the Ipswich Town v Aston Villa (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 17 September 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admitted today’s goalless home draw with Aston Villa was a ‘fair result’, even though his team had two shots cleared off the line and another hit the post during a frantic finish.

Up until that dramatic eight minutes of stoppage-time, awarded due to the fact Teddy Bishop and Ashley Westwood required lengthy treatment for a clash of heads earlier, it had been scrappy affair. Freddie Sears’ tame long-range effort midway through the first half was the only shot on target produced by either team inside 90 minutes.

“I’m pleased with the performance and how we played against an expensively assembled team full of good players,” said McCarthy, whose team drop to 11th in the Championship table after eight games.

“Yes we could have won it in the end, we had two off the line and one off the post, but if that was me I’d be saying what great defending it is. I was saying that on Tuesday night (following a 1-0 win at Derby). We have to give them a bit of credit. They didn’t capitulate and pack up, they went right to the end.

“Probably overall it’s a fair result.”

Just like at the iPro Stadium in midweek, Town worked their socks off and produced a plethora of big blocks and tackles in the box without ever really creating much going forwards.

“I can trust my players to go on the pitch, give everything and leave it all out there,” said the Blues boss. “That’s a really nice thing for a manager to be able to say week-in, week-out. We might not play well, but it’s never for the want to trying. They always work hard and run around – and that’s a quality in itself.”

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Sears went close with two free-kick efforts at the death, while he also struck the base of the post with a side-footed effort. He has now gone 34 games without a goal.

“Do you know what, I’m not bothered, because he’s been different class,” said McCarthy. “When he’s going back and nicking it off full-backs in the box, then running up the other end and creating things... He’ll get his goal and it will all happen for him again.

“He’s just having one of those moments in a career that is tough. It’s only tough in terms of the lack of gaols though, because he’s playing great. He’ll still be named next week.

“We all go through it as players. I remember going through a real horrible period, I tried everything to make it right and (Manchester City and Celtic manager) Billy McNeill stuck with me. He never once thought of leaving me out because he knew I was the best centre-half in the team. I got out of that spell.

“I wasn’t playing particularly well and Freddie is! I don’t think the fact he’s not scoring constitutes not playing well. There’s a huge difference. David McGoldrick went 11 games with a goal once and I never left him out.”

With strike duo Luke Varney and Leon Best having a real impact as late substitutes, both came on in the 88th minute, McCarthy said: “Reg (Varney) had been on and produced a great cameo on Tuesday too. I don’t think either of them are starters yet, but you’ve seen what they can do when they get on the pitch.

“They’ll both be playing on Monday night in the 23s. When they get really up to speed they can start a game because Pits (Brett Pitman) has been different class, but we can’t keep flogging him.”

He added: “Someone has just asked me whether I was aware of Aston Villa conceding goals in the last minute. No, absolutely not, there was no me being smart about that. Every team, if you put Leon Best and Luke Varney on, would have a problem with them.

“They’d gone 3-4-3 almost and I thought ‘we can handle that with 4-4-2 now’. I got two strikers on that I knew had 10/15 minutes in them.”

With Bishop a subbed sub following his clash of heads, McCarthy was asked if the midfielder was okay. He replied: “I don’t think he knows yet! He’s got a cut on his nose. I don’t know if he’s broke it. He was too good looking anyway! It’s probably ruined his night out in Cambridge tonight, but so what. He’ll be fine. It was the right thing for him to come off.”

And on Tom Lawrence, who enjoyed an encouraging full debut, he said: “I’m really pleased with him. He’s a good acquisition. He can play in any one of three or four slots – wide left, wide right, in behind or up front. His delivery from corners and free-kicks is good.

“He’d been booked, he’s a good competitor and if you just start to get tired and miss a tackle you can suddenly be walking off. I didn’t need that.”

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

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