Reaction: ‘We’re on an upward curve’ – McCarthy hails his players after 1-1 draw at Brighton

Mick McCarthy venting his frustrations with the fourth official at Brighton last night

Mick McCarthy venting his frustrations with the fourth official at Brighton last night

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy says it would have been a ‘criminal injustice’ had his team been denied a share of the spoils late on in last night’s 1-1 draw at Championship high-fliers Brighton.

Luke Chambers’ brave header was cancelled out by Tomer Hemed’s penalty in the first half. Both teams then had chances to win it, with Glenn Murray striking the spot in stoppage-time as the Seagulls were denied the chance to go top and record an eighth straight home win.

“How many saves did their keeper make? We’ve had one headed off the line and another one blocked,” said McCarthy. “I’m immensely proud of the players, but I’m just reminding you that it wasn’t a backs-to-the-wall, defend, nick-a-point performance. They are a good side Brighton, they passed it, they moved it, we had to defend, but we’ve had some chances as well.

“I know they hit the post late on, but that would have been a criminal injustice had that gone it after the way we’d played.”

On Brighton’s penalty, awarded after Bruno Saltor went down dramatically after a slight shirt tug by Emyr Huws, McCarthy said: “I think if I was going to try and nick his wallet in a bar or take his beer off him then he might not fall over as easy! But I don’t blame him for going down because there was a little pull at his shirt. It’s the linesman who’s given it, not the referee.”


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With the Blues having started a tough-looking month of February with good performances against Reading (2-2 at home), Aston Villa (1-0 win away) and this draw, McCarthy said: “Quite clearly we are on an upward curve from where we were, that’s evident to everybody. Let’s hope we carry it on. We have a home game now against a really good side on Saturday.

“The last few games may have gone better than many thought or predicted, but I did say, openly, that we will probably play well against these sort of teams and get more points than we did from the supposedly easier games. We weren’t expected to win these games, but we always seem to rise to the occasion. I’m hoping we’ll do it again on Saturday.”

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The only black spot this evening was Tom Lawrence picking up his 10th booking of the season, for dissent. He will now be suspended for the next two matches – Leeds and, crucially, the East Anglian derby at Norwich.

“Yeah, well, it will give a chance to somebody else, as disappointing as it might be,” said McCarthy. “I won’t talk about him (referee Roger East, who dished out nine bookings) because I’ve got nothing nice to say at all and that would get me into trouble.”

On goalscoring skipper Chambers, the Blues boss said: “He’s been outstanding considering the speculation about (Nottingham) Forest on the last day of the transfer window. He’s shown what a professional footballer should be all about. He’s continued in his manly way and not been affected by it. He’s been terrific. He’s an example to any young pro who might be affected by transfer talk. He’s been great.”

On Huws, who was off the field for 10 minutes in the first half getting a head wound attended to, McCarthy said: “He’s got a nasty cut and had five or six stitches on the back of his head. I’m glad we waited for him to come back on because I thought he was great.”

And on young wing-back Josh Emmanuel, who endured a tough second half, he said: “Josh has just come in and said ‘I’ll learn from this’, I said ‘I hope so!’ He’s picking it up. You can coach him all you like, but experience comes from games and playing against good players – that’s the same for Myles (Kenlock). They’ve got to get their education by playing.”

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