Reaction: McCarthy says play-off place is Ipswich Town’s to ‘big up or screw up’ following 1-1 draw at Wolves
Wolves v Ipswich: Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says securing a Championship play-off place is his side’s to ‘big up or screw up’ following his afternoon’s valuable 1-1 draw at promotion rivals Wolves.
Former Town loanee Richard Stearman headed into his own net to give Town a 22nd minute lead against the run of play, with Benik Afobe sliding home an equaliser at the far post five minutes after the restart.
Wolves were by far the more dynamic side, but Ipswich – led by the outstanding Christophe Berra – dug deep to see out the draw and maintain a three-point cushion over their hosts heading into their final two matches (Nottingham Forest at home and Blackburn away).
“It’s in our hands to big it up or screw it up I suppose,” said McCarthy, whose side remain in sixth-spot ahead of Brentford’s home game against Bolton this afternoon.
“Listen, it’s a good performance today, a good point, very pleasing.”
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He continued: “I think you’ve got to give Wolves credit. They’ve played well, certainly second half. I was disappointed with how we started the second half, I thought we invited pressure, but, again, you have to give them credit.
“They were certainly in the ascendence in the second half, but we’ve produced a stubborn, belligerent, professional performance – all those horrible words in football that people don’t like, expect I.
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“You win games and win leagues by doing that. We might not be the best team, we might not have played great, but we are always hard to beat and hard to play against.”
On man-of-the-match Berra, who was booed by fans of his former club, McCarthy said: “He probably had a point to prove. He was outsanding.
“He played in a team that got promoted and in a team that stayed in the Premier League for two years. When it starts to go a little bit pear-shaped everybody gets a bit of stick though.
“When they got relegated for a second time everybody got shipped out and Kenny (Jackett) started again and he’s done a good job with fresh, new players.”
Asked if he himself had a point to prove, McCarthy having spent six largely successful years in charge at Molineux, he replied: “I don’t think I’ve got any points to prove to anybody here, I think I am very much liked and respected by the Wolves fans. I love the club and the people here. I always appreciate it when I get a nice warm welcome coming back. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy getting something today though.”
– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match analysis, comment and more reaction.