Connor: Mick's Delighted
Saturday, 2nd Feb 2013 18:40
Assistant boss Terry Connor said manager Mick McCarthy was delighted with the Blues’ 4-0 victory over Middlesbrough when he spoke to him after the game. Tommy Smith headed in twice from corners with strikers David McGoldrick and Aaron Mclean notching their first goals for Town in between.
Connor said: “He’s absolutely delighted with it, I spoke to him after the game. He was absolutely delighted with the result and the manner of the performance.”
The Blues assistant says McCarthy called in sick at lunchtime having missed training throughout the week due to a virus: “He’s probably just getting over it.
“He’s been really struggling for two or three days and today I think he felt he would be able to get in but every time he stands up he doesn’t feel great, he just feels weak and very tired, and he just felt it wasn’t a day for him to come in.
“I think it’s the first time in 21 years of his managerial career that he’s had to miss his team play. It was good that we got the result for him and hopefully he’ll feel a whole lot better.”
He added: “About half-past 12, a quarter to one today, he just couldn’t get in. He wished me all the best, said ‘You know what you’re doing, get on and do it’, and thankfully the lads responded really well and we won the game 4-0. I know he feels a lot better about it afterwards and he’ll be back to work on Monday, hopefully.
“If you can’t be there, you’re going to wonder about everything, but it’s nice that he’s able to say ‘I can come back to work on Monday, we’re three points better off, with a good performance, the strikers scoring, a clean sheet’. We’ve had a good day in terms of that.”
Connor says there was no communication between the pair during the game: “I spoke to him before the game and after the game but not during the game. At the end his message to the team was that they did really well, they performed well and got a good result and he’d see them all on Monday.
“We’ve been in constant conversations about the team and the preparation all week. I think Mick trusts me enough to know that I’ll carry them out to the letter, so the team was well prepared and with the information and the feedback he got from me, he was able to pick a team, which he did.
“I did exactly the same things, other than making subs at the appropriate times. But speaking to the lads and the preparation for the game was very much the same, I just had to fill in the blanks that the gaffer normally does and thankfully the lads listened and went out and performed really well and went out and managed to get the win.”
Last week at Bristol City, the Blues conceded a crucial equaliser just after half-time. This week, Boro had an opportunity, but then Town struck back immediately.
“There are always those times in the game when you can look back and think that if that happened, it could have been a different result altogether,” Connor said.
“Last week we got caught and ended up losing the game 2-1 and everyone forgets the manner of the performance.
“This week, we got away with it, [Lukas Jutkiewicz] headed it six inches past the post and within two or three minutes we’d scored the second goal and we then blossomed, grew in confidence and belief and went on to win the game 4-0 and everyone’s talking about a good performance and a good result, but that was a turning point in the game.”
The former Leeds striker was delighted for Tommy Smith, who netted his first brace for the Blues from a corner in either half: “It’s one of those things, it’s a bit of payback for all the times Tommy’s been in there and nearly scored, the flight of the ball’s just beaten him or something.
“You have to keep persevering and this week’s it’s Tommy’s week to get his head on two corners and produce two headers like he did, which were superb headers and he got two goals from them today.”
Lee Martin missed out due to a hamstring problem, Connor confirmed: “He finished training yesterday and he complained of tightness in a hamstring. We thought there was no problem and the physios dealt with it.
“But he came in this afternoon and it didn’t feel right. I spoke to the physio and we just thought we were taking a huge risk if we’d asked him to play today.”
Today’s result was Boro’s fourth loss on the trot and manager Tony Mowbray felt it was amongst their worst performances during that run: “It hasn’t all been bad, we’ve had some pretty decent performances in this poor run of results.
“And yet today was a poor performance. Derby County a couple of weeks ago was a poor performance, we could hold up an excuse of having a lot of players out injured in that game, but we couldn’t today.
“There’s no excuse for today’s performance, we came here in a really positive mood, thinking we were coming to win today.
“We’ve got two home games coming up and we were hoping to push on and really threaten the top two again and we have to react to today’s performance.”
The former Blues skipper had praise for his old side: “Ipswich are a hard team to play against, they’re a very honest team. They’re 4-4-2 and work extremely hard.
“Generally our game is based around the fluency of moving the ball in midfield and playing between the lines and they didn’t allow us to do that today. We got a bit frustrated that we couldn’t move the ball about the pitch.
“Ipswich out of possession are a decent football team, and yet if they were scoring four every week they wouldn’t be where they are in the league.
“They’ve obviously had problems scoring goals and they probably wish they could play against us every week. We’re better than we showed today, otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting in the top six.”
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