Reaction: McCarthy says his ‘knackered’ players need to get used to opponents raising their game after 3-2 loss at Brighton
Brighton v Ipswich: Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says his ‘knackered’ players need to get used to opponents raising their game.
Lowly Brighton produced one of their best performances of the season tonight to beat the Blues 3-2 at The Amex Stadium.
A win would have seen the Suffolk side go top, but some uncharacteristically slow closing down allowed the slick Seagulls to score three times in the first half.
Daryl Murphy’s smart near post volley (22) cancelled out Sam Baldock’s fine opener (19), but then Portuguese playmaker Joao Teizeira scored twice (38 and 46+) to render Freddie Sears’ (78) late goal a mere consolation.
“I could come in here and bemoan that we didn’t play as well as we could have done, but that might take away from Chris (Hughton)’s team because I thought they were good,” said McCarthy.
“We were trying to get top and they were ready for us. I seem to remember when we were in that bottom six, when I first came to the club, we ran all over teams.
“We’re having to live up to a reputation at the moment. Teams are steeling themselves for us. Maybe that brings something better out of the opposition.
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“Although, that said, our first half performance wasn’t what I expect from us.”
Asked why his side were uncharacteristically slow to close down, McCarthy said: “Maybe one or two of them are knackered. Murph’s played every minute of every game, just about. Noel Hunt’s come in having not played a lot of football. One or two have missed out through injury and illness.
“I’m not making excuses, but it only takes your players to be down a couple of per cent and their players to be up a couple of per cent – because they’re playing us – and it makes it a difficult evening.”
He continued: “I’m not happy with the goals; we didn’t do as well as we should have done with them. They were a bit unlike us.
“I don’t think the chance to go top had anything to do with it though. The lads were really focussed.”
With a blank weekend coming up, he added: “They’ll all be off until Monday now. They’ll have a break, chill out with their families, have a beer with their mates; I’m not bothered. They’ve worked exceptionally hard and now they get a break before preparing for the Wigan game (at home, a week on Saturday).”