Reaction: Mick McCarthy says he wishes he’d played the kids after ‘awful’ Ipswich Town crash out of the EFL Cup to Stevenage

Grant Ward is beaten to the ball by Stevenage keeper Jamie Jones. Picture: Steve Waller

Grant Ward is beaten to the ball by Stevenage keeper Jamie Jones. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy branded his team ‘awful’ after they crashed out of the EFL Cup to League Two side Stevenage, at Portman Road, tonight.

Ben Kennedy scored the only goal of the game in the 53rd minute and a strong-looking Blues, on paper at least, couldn’t respond against an outfit who finished 18th in the fourth-tier last season.

Town have now exited the League Cup to lower level opposition in five of the last six seasons, while McCarthy has won only two of 13 cup games as Blues boss.

Visibly trying to keep his anger in check afterwards, his answers were often terse and prickly. He said: “I think Stevenage were excellent, deserved to win, and I think we were awful. Their keeper made saves you’d expect him to make. They defended well, made blocks and I don’t want to take away from their performance, because I thought they were good, but we weren’t.”

McCarthy continued: “I’ll be looking at it tomorrow morning. As teams from lower leagues do, they come and are totally committed and if they get something to hold onto they make it extremely hard for you. They worked their socks off and deserved to win.”

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When it was pointed out that he had named a stronger-than-usual team for a cup football, he simply replied: “I wish I hadn’t.”

He eventually continued: “Yeah, in terms of experience and games played – yes it was (a stronger team).

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“I certainly didn’t set the team up to get beaten did I? I think the team I picked spells that out. I wanted to still be in this competition.

“I wish I’d have picked a youth team, picked all the kids and a team with no experience in it. At least I’d be sat here thinking ‘I deserved that’.”

On his poor record in cup football, he replied: “No, but my league record has been pretty good though. Yes, we’re out the cup – am I happy about it? Am I hell happy about it. I’m livid about the way we played.”

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