Reaction: Mick McCarthy will continue to ignore Ipswich Town fans’ calls for their ‘favourites’ to play
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has staunchly defended his team selection following this afternoon’s drab goalless draw with Huddersfield Town at Portman Road.
The Blues boss resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes to his team following just one win in six league games and another frustrating match ensued, albeit Town finally looking a lot more solid as a defensive unit.
Supporters chanted the names of creative substitutes David McGoldrick and Kevin Bru during the match, the former introduced at half-time for Brett Pitman and the latter remaining unused as Cole Skuse and Jonathan Douglas operated in central midfield.
“I know, I know, I know,” said McCarthy, when the above was put to him. “I’ll just tell you that the more they shout the less chance there is they will come on. If anyone thinks that Freddie Sears and Brett Pitman aren’t good players... I think they are a really good partnership them.
“Dougy heads one over the crossbar and, if Didz’s (McGoldrick’s) ball doesn’t go out, then Dougy wins a penalty too. I thought he was great.”
He added: “It’s the same since I’ve been a kid, there are always a couple of players that get it in the earhole. They (the fans) always have favourites and that won’t change.
“When it’s going badly I’m not really the flavour of the month and the players who are playing aren’t flavour of the month. We’ve just got to change their taste buds again.
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“I think you’ll find that over the years I have known who the best players in my squads are. It might not always look like that sometimes when the results go the wrong way, but everybody has a different team in their head and the first knee-jerk reaction is to change it all.
“When you start doing that, and it all goes to mush, you have to change again though. My back four were fantastic last year and they haven’t become bad players overnight.”
With just one win in eight matches across all competitions – Town now 10th in the Championship table ahead of trips to Hull and Nottingham Forest next week – McCarthy was asked where the spark had gone in his side following a scintillating start to the season.
“Maybe teams are looking at us differently after the way we started,” he replied. “I get asked in August ‘are you going to be suffering from a hangover?’ Well quite clearly we didn’t. I think others have thought ‘wow, we are going to have to be on our mettle playing Ipswich’.
“There are always two teams in a game, it’s not always about us. Blackburn stopped us two weeks ago and today Huddersfield have. It was a tough Championship game and probably a fair result.”
He added: “I get asked what the positives are today; well the clean sheet is one, I think the reaction in the second half is another one, playing well having not played so well in the first half.
“The fact we thought we were back to being competitive too. We certainly didn’t allow them to play. Tommy (Smith) had a tough start, but he then won that battle with (Ishmael) Miller.
“I guess the reality is it has been us conceding goals that has been our real Achilles heel and we haven’t conceded one today. There were times Bez (Christophe Berra) and Tommy (Smith) got in a mix-up, but one of them covered. The first bit wasn’t always great defending, but then Bez, for example, is there to hook off the line.
“Skusey slipped, but got back and blocked it. That was great defending. They always repaired the damage.
“I thought we defended free-kicks and corners really well too, so yes, I’m pleased with the way the lads played.
“On a different day last season we’d have scored that chance at the end and eeked out a 1-0 win, that’s just not happening for us at the moment but it will happen if we keep doing all the basic things; scrapping, tackling, blocking and working hard.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy revealed that Tommy Oar – who made his full Championship debut in place of the injured Ryan Fraser – was subbed at the break with concussion following a collision with keeper Jed Steer.
“I feel sorry for Tommy Oar because it turns out he’s got concussion and I didn’t know that when I took him off,” said the Blues boss. “It happened after that ‘collision’. That was a nasty one that. If I can’t say anything pleasant about that I won’t say anything more.
“He (Oar) didn’t play well, but neither would anyone else if they were concussed. He got a right smack in the hooter. It quite clearly affected his performance.”
– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for comment, analysis and more reaction.