Reaction: Mick McCarthy says 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday a fairer reflection of his four years in charge of Ipswich Town
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says today’s 2-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday is fairer reflection of his four years in charge of the club than some of the recent performances which has seen a section of supporters turn on him.
The Blues boss left the field to boos and derogatory chants about his style of football following last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with rock-bottom Rotherham, but he stuck with virtually the same team for the trip to Hillsborough and was rewarded with a fine away day display capped by Luke Chambers’ 87th minute headed winner.
A sense of steady stagnation has set in throughout 2016, but McCarthy finally has some of his best creative players to call upon again following the return to fitness of David McGoldrick and Jonny Wiulliams.
Asked if it’s only fair to judge him now he’s got close to a fully fit squad available, he replied: “If you or anyone else wants to judge me then crack on. That performance today and that result reflects my time at Ipswich, my four years and 202 games, far more than the performances that some choose to carp on about. That is more like my team, that is more how I’ve been than some of the other performances. That’s a nice result.”
Leicester City loanee Tom Lawrence scored a superb solo opener in the 32nd minute, the flying left-winger running half the length of the pitch before finding the bottom corner. The Owls hit back within four minutes when Gary Hooper converted a rebound from what looked like an offside position.
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Ipswich had to defend well at the start of the second half and had looked an increasing threat on the counter-attack before Chambers’ winner.
“I thought it was a good display by virtually the team that played last weekend,” said McCarthy.
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“I never expected us to be the dominant team for the whole game away from home because they have got good players who rotate well and pass it well, but we negated that for most of the time. They’ve not had that many chances.
“As the game went on, and it got more stretched, we caught them on the break a number of times and didn’t make enough of it, which we should have done, until we got the winner.”
Ipswich were fairly long odds for victory given the respective form of the two teams (Town had won just once in eight, while Wednesday had won six of their last 10), but McCarthy had seen enough from his team’s display against Rotherham to go into this game full of confidence.
“I told you that in the week didn’t I?” he said. “I said I had no worry about my ability or that of the players. Today backed that up because it was a really good performance. Last weekend was just on the back of two horrible goals we gave away. It was hard to play then because we hadn’t had a win in seven or eight. It’s not easy under those circumstances.
“But I thought we were excellent today. It was a really good performance.”
On Lawrence’s fine goal, he said: “I said to him before the game was that all he needs to cap his performances off is a goal because he’s been excellent. He’s been a really good signing, he’s played every week and he got his goal today. It was a terrifc goal.”
On Chambers’ winner, he quipped: “He intercepted a header that was going over the North Stand by Bez (Christophe Berra)! Nevertheless they were both in there and attacking it.”
McCarthy’s unbeaten league record against Sheffield Wednesday as a manager has been extended to 14 matches – eight wins and six draws.
“Maybe they should take me as the manager here?” he joked, before sarcastically adding: “Oh, I forgot, I’ll be here for a couple more weeks with you now.”
With the Blues boss sticking with a 4-4-2 formation – Lawrence and Grant Ward both impressive on the flanks – he said: “I had Tabby (Jay Tabb) and Ando (Paul Anderson) on the wings before. I’m not going to say they were flying wingers, but they were in a 4-4-2. I’ve not been able to play 4-4-2 really because I’ve had Pits (Brett Pitman) injured, Reg Varney injured, Didzy (David McGoldrick) injured, we sold Murph (Daryl Murphy), Besty (Leon Best) came in playing catch-up with his fitness. When you’ve only got two fit strikers it makes it difficult to start with 4-4-2 because you can’t make any substitutions.
“That is my preferred way of playing. Sometimes I’ll choose differently to stop the opposition, but it proved to be fruitful today.”
Following next weekend’s international break, Town host Nottingham Forest and QPR at Portman Road on consecutive Saturdays.
“Had we been going into the international break on the back of another bad result the mood would be different,” admitted McCarthy. “We were always going to have a couple of days off, the difference is I’ll enjoy them now.”
– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for analysis and more reaction.