Reaction: Mick McCarthy hails his side’s ugly qualities after 1-0 win at MK Dons

Jonathan Douglas being held at MK Dons in the early game on Saturday

Jonathan Douglas being held at MK Dons in the early game on Saturday

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hailed his side’s battling qualities after they secured a hard-fought 1-0 win at MK Dons this lunchtime.

The Blues took the lead through Brett Pitman’s stooping header in the 10th minute and could have easily added one or two goals to their tally before the break. It was a different story after the break though, MK Dons dominating possession and forcing three smart saves out of Dean Gerken during a frantic finish.

“It was a really tough, resolute, well-organised perofrmance, I thought, against a team who had lots of the ball,” said McCarthy, whose team, temporarily at least, move into the Championship play-off places.

“They dominated the ball, dominated possession, but they couldn’t get through us and, when they did, Gerks was there to make the saves. He was bang in form again.

“We had chances to put it to bed before then. I thought we had the most clear-cut chances.”

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“They were bang at it and I’d be thinking ‘we deserved something out of that’ if I was them. But I’m thinking we played really well and had the better chances.

“You need all sorts of qualities to be successful in this league and today we’ve shown we can do the dirty side of it. We played a good football team today and came away with a clean sheet and three points.”

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When it was put to him that 1-0 wins are often the sign of a successful team, he replied: “I hope so. We haven’t had too many recently. We did in the past.

“I think they are a good side, they played good football and they’ll take all the plaudits for the way they played. But, as I say, there are a lot of things you have to be in this league. One of them is all those ugly qualities of being tough, resolute, sticking with it, standing, fighting and being organised. All of that, all of the nasty side of the game, is just as important. Without that you get beat.

“If that’s more like a Mick McCarthy performance then I’ll take that as a complement because it was a clean sheet.””

On Pitman’s winning goal, he said: “It was the first time we got the ball down and played. It was a short free-kick, we got it wide and it was a fabulous cross by Luke Chambers. We all know he’s a centre-back playing full-back, but he’s just told Sky he’s a bone fide right-back now!”

Following on from victories at Rotherham and Charlton, this was the first time that Ipswich have won three successive away games since January 2009.

“Let’s have a look at our home record though,” said McCarthy. “It’s where we end up in May, how many points you end up with though – it doesn’t really matter where you get them. This league does seem to be throwing up a lot of away wins this season.

“We certainly didn’t try and sit back today, we had a lot of attacking players on the pitch. We’ve conceded a few poor goals, so a clean sheet today was good for everyone.”

Jonas Knudsen was floored in stoppage-time after a powerful shot hit him flush in the face from close-range. Asked if the Danish defender was okay, McCarthy said: “He’d have been a lot worse had he ducked and it had flown in our net – he’d have got a harder smack on the chin!

“He’s fine. He’s different class Jonas. He’s a proper warrior who puts his body on the line.”

On fit-again loanee Ryan Fraser, who was on the bench just a day after rejoining the club from parent club Bournemouth, the Blues boss added: “He trained yesterday, was bright as a button but this wasn’t the game for him to go on. He’s available for Tuesday (away to Fulham) though. That’s great.”

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