‘Love me or loathe me for being a pragmatist, I’m not bothered’ – Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says he will always be football’s ultimate pragmatist.

The Blues have won five of their opening seven Championship games and could replace Leeds United at the top of the table with victory at Elland Road on Saturday.

Just 14,164 watched last Saturday’s unconvincing 2-0 home win over rock-bottom Bolton though – the lowest crowd at Portman Road for a league fixture in 19 years – and many want to see more entertainment value.

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“I was worried to death about Bolton last week,” said McCarthy, who matched up the newly-promoted side’s wing-back formation.

“I was anxious before the game, I wasn’t looking forward to it, because it was a game I thought we had to win if we were going to maintain our relationship with the supporters.

“I knew it wouldn’t be an easy game. As soon as you get a ‘must win’ game, which it was bearing in mind our position and their position, it adds pressure.”

Town have faced more than double the amount of shots they’ve produced so far – 65 for and 137 against. And four of the teams they have beaten are in the bottom five as it stands.

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“If people have a lot of shots or put a lot of crosses in our box, I look at my defence and think ‘we dealt with all that’,” said McCarthy.

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“Me being the pragmatist that I am, you know the one stat that matters me is how many goals we’ve got and how many goals the opposition did or didn’t get.

“Love me or loathe me for being a pragmatist, I’m not bothered. That’s just the way it is.

“I’m delighted with how it’s gone so far, but there’s still 39 to go.”

McCarthy admitted at the start of this campaign that he and the team needed to win back a few hearts and minds.

“We didn’t lose some, we lost loads of them,” he said. “We were hopeless at times last year here, we got the bird, we got booed, we got jeered off and we deserved most it.

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“I’ve no problem with that. I never dismiss the role the supporters play in a football club because when I’ve gone they’ll all still be here. It’s my job to try and build a team that can entertain them and certainly to build a team that wins.

“I still say that (winning) is the most important thing, despite one or two who might disagree and say it’s all about playing sexy football. It’s great when you get them both.”