Reaction: McCarthy talks Christmas party, low crowd and possession football after Reading win

Town manager Mick McCarthy and Reading team manager Jaap Stam on the touchline. Picture: STEVE WA

Town manager Mick McCarthy and Reading team manager Jaap Stam on the touchline. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has urged his players to have a few beers on their Christmas night out following this afternoon’s 2-0 home win over Reading.

First-half goals from Callum Connolly (3) and Joe Garner (28) saw the Blues chalk up their seventh win from 11 games at Portman Road and move up to eighth in the Championship table, closing the gap on the play-off places to two points.

“They are going out tonight,” said McCarthy who, when quizzed if he’d be joining his players, added: “You’re kidding me aren’t you? That’s the last place I want to be! Thirty years ago I would have been leading the troop down to the pub. Do they go to pubs anymore? I’m not quite certain they do.

“Unless you’re having an absolute stinker and players aren’t working hard and there’s a horrible atmosphere about the place you can’t cancel it (Christmas do). I wouldn’t have cancelled it had we lost today. They run about for me and they earned their Christmas night out like everybody else in every other business earns theirs.

“It’s not going to effect them come Saturday (game at league leaders Wolves) if they have a few beers. I’ve told them to have a few beers because I might have a few as well.”

On this afternoon’s game, he said: “I’m very pleased – pleased with the performance and absolutely delighted with the result.

“Callum is having a great season. He’s really helped bolster that central midfield and been very good. I’ve said to him that he’s got a goal in him because he shoots with either foot in training and gets in the box. He’s proving my theory right, which is nice.

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“Getting an early goal always helps settle you down and gives confidence.”

Reading were yet another side who came to Portman Road and had the lion’s share of possession only to leave with their tails between their legs.

“I get a bit tired of it to be honest with you because I think there would be a section of people that would want us to play that way,” said McCarthhy. “We’ve never played that way and finished sixth and seventh and we’re doing particularly well now.

“That’s what they want to do, we do what we want to do. No style of playing guarantees you winning. What guarantees you results is people playing well, and working hard, and being solid and doing all the dirty stuff. I saw Wolves play last night, and I know they’ve spent money, but they don’t half work hard.

“All the different styles, it doesn’t really matter. We’ve had a really solid, really good performance today. Their centre-backs weren’t hurting us with the ball, that’s for sure.”

An entertaining match was played out in front of the lowest league crowd at Portman Road in almost 20 years – you have to go back to October 1998 to find a lower attendance than 13,832.

“I can’t do anything about that can I?” said McCarthy. “We’ve had seven wins out of 11 here. That’s my role in all of this. If they want to come and watch my team play then great, if they don’t there’s not a lot I can do about it.”

He added: “I’m delighted with a clean sheet. The strikers have scored lots of goals and keep getting the plaudits, and rightly so because it’s the hardest thing to do, but that’s very often bolstered by a lot of hard work and determination from other people.”

Asked why Cole Skuse had been substituted at half-time, he explained: “A really bad bruised foot. I hope that’s just all it is.”

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