Safety-first approach will continue for Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy after the final whistle at Leeds

Mick McCarthy after the final whistle at Leeds

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy will continue to deploy a safety-first tactical approach heading into back-to-back home games.

The Blues may have kept four clean sheets this season, but they have created and scored little at the other end of the field.

Since the 4-2 home win over Barnsley on the opening weekend of the campaign they have scored just four times – and one of them was a penalty – producing, on average, three shots on target per match.

“To be fair, we’ve been pretty solid,” said McCarthy, speaking ahead of tonight’s Championship visit of third-placed Brighton (7.45pm ko) followed by Saturday’s clash with second-placed Huddersfield at Portman Road.

“That might not please everybody in terms of ‘pretty on the eye’, but I can’t afford to be out of games after 10/20 minutes and be a couple of goals down.

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“It’s only been the last couple of games we’ve not created chances. I think we created in the early games. We scored goals that were disallowed.

“I do think we’ve got to be pretty compact and make sure that we are not over-run. Winning comes before everything for me. And with a bit of a striker crisis it makes it difficult to change it anyway.”

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McCarthy has generally favoured a 4-4-2 formation throughout his managerial career, but has deployed what is essentially a 4-5-1 system of late.

“It’s quite an attacking way of playing football I think – we like to play in their half,” said McCarthy, whose direct brand of football has come in for criticism.

“We’re not an expansive unit fanning out at the back because that could cause ourselves problems.

“We can play our way better than we did on Saturday (a poor performance and 1-0 loss at Leeds) and we have done. We finished in the top six doing that, so there is no complaints to come from me on that score.

“We played this way a lot last year and had to because otherwise you can get over-run in midfield.

“There was many a time last season I started as 4-4-2 and, after 10 minutes, thought ‘we’re going to get done here’. I changed it and we won games.

“And the players like playing it, they think it suits us.”

He added: “At Leeds we didn’t work their keeper hardly ever and that’s something that we need to improve on. We need to be a bit more considered and work the opposition a bit more.”

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for match preview. Follow @Stuart_Watson on twitter for live match updates.

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