Reaction: Mick McCarthy gets on the front foot after 3-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy was in combative mood after his team beat Queens Park Rangers by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline at Portman Road this afternoon.
The Blues boss has faced mounting criticism from a section of supporters this season and his team went into today’s game under pressure having been booed off the field following a draw with Rotherham and 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Suffolk soil.
His players responded superbly, producing a much-improved display full of fight and attacking edge to move to within three points of the Championship play-off places.
Grant Ward, Luke Varney and Tom Lawrence scored the goals in what was Town’s biggest margin of home victory in almost two years as QPR folded in the closing stages of Ian Holloway’s second game in charge of the West London club.
“The irony is that poor old (keeper) Alex Smithies cost them the second, which probably enabled us to win the game as comprehensively as we did, but then he’s kept it from being what could have been an embarrassing scoreline,” said McCarthy.
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“It would have been nice revenge that on Ollie (Holloway) because he slapped me by five (as Crystal Palace manager) in my second game (in charge of Ipswich) – not that I hold a grudge at all! He’s a really good pal of mine actually.”
McCarthy was then asked how well he thought veteran striker Varney had played on his return to the starting line-up.
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He replied: “He was fab today. I bet people weren’t thinking that when they saw the team sheet...”
The team selection – which saw Jonathan Douglas and Varney replace Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears respectively – had certainly drawn criticism on social media before kick-off. Asked if he’d picked his team to provide a bit more experience and fight following the poor performance against Forest, McCarthy said: “I don’t think there was anything wrong with the Nottingham Forest performance – we just gave two poor goals away. There’s a difference.
“Were we abject? No. Did we run hard against Nottingham Forest? Yeah. We got loads of crosses in but nothing dropped for us. It was just one of those games were we gave two poor, poor goals away and it cost us. I didn’t think the performance was that bad, but when you lose at home that’s what everybody thinks.
“We’ve not been bristling with confidence here and I know exactly what I’m going to get out of Reg Varney, I know exactly what I’m going to get out of Chambo (Luke Chambers) and I know exactly what I’m going to get out of Dougie.
“I thought if they played 3-5-2 I needed a more substantial and tougher midfield with Dougie and that they could handle their three in there.
“Bish wouldn’t have been able to do that. None of the others would. Dougie and Skusey are a real good force. Yeah, we might lose a bit of that sexyness but who gives a f***? I just want to win. I get sick of all that.
“We’ve played well today and we’ve had to defend. I thought Reg epitomised everything that I want in a team of mine.”
There was an element of good fortune in all three of Town’s goals. Ward’s finish was scuffed, Smithies’ howler led to Varney’s open goal finish, while Lawrence’s finish came after Cole Skuse’s shot fell at his feet in the box.
The above was pointed out to McCarthy, followed by the positive caveat of ‘but you were due some luck’. The Blues boss bristled and replied: “We’ve scored three goals and you say ‘there’s an element of fortune’. It’s funny, you never mentioned that last week about their (Nottingham Forest’s) element of good fortune. That’s b******t really, it’s double standards that. It’s a bit like when all of my players are injured and no-one mentions it, but when we go to Blackburn and they’ve got five strikers missing you all go ‘they’ve got five strikers missing’.
“That p***** me off, but hey ho. If they were three lucky goals then I’m delighted. It’s about time we had a bit of luck because we’ve had none so far. We had a disallowed goal against Wolves, a disallowed goal against Norwich, penalties given against us at Reading, injuries to David McGoldrick, blahdy, blahdy blay. I can mention them now we’ve won because it doesn’t seem like a moan.”
Did his team owe a performance like that to the fans today?
“Of course we did,” he said. “The fans don’t come to see us play badly and lose. I hardly felt great myself going home after the Rotherham and Nottingham Forest games. If anybody thinks I enjoy that then they are much mistaken. I go home and have a rotten weekend.
“I hope everybody who has seen us play today thinks ‘fair dos’. I hope Ipswich is a happier place this weekend.”