McCarthy: No Need to Panic
Saturday, 31st Aug 2013 06:00
Town boss Mick McCarthy says there’s no need to panic after three defeats in four Championship games plus a further loss to Stevenage in the Capital One Cup, but is set to shuffle his pack ahead of today’s game at Birmingham.
Despite the results, McCarthy has been pleased with his team's performances, but feels a change of personnel is required: “We’ve been playing well, but we’ve lost 75 per cent of our league games, or 80 per cent of our games in total, we’ve lost four out of five games.
“There’s no need to panic but I’d hate to be stood on Saturday night ‘Lost another and I could have done something’.”
While there has been a lot of talk about who might be left out of the XI at St Andrew’s the Town boss looks at things from the opposite angle: “It’s always ‘They’ve been dropped or he’s been dropped’. I always look at it the other way.
“If I’m one of the six or seven who haven’t been involved I’d be thinking ‘We lost at Reading, we lost at QPR, we lost at home to Leeds, when do I get a chance?
“’How many games are we going to lose before the gaffer’s going to have a look at me when I’m pulling up trees and supporting everybody, coming on as a sub, playing in the U21s, doing my bit, training every day, backing everybody else up. When do I get my chance?’. That’s what I’d be thinking.”
His review of the season so far is generally upbeat: “Tried hard, could do better would sum it up. We’ve played well, results have been disappointing.
“Performances [have been good], apart from the second half against Leeds when we didn’t play so well, but then they scored after three minutes and it was a bit of a gut-wrencher when that went in.
“And when you’ve played as well as we’ve played, and I’ve been there playing in a team like that, you think ‘What do we have to do to win a game?’. That mentality can hit you.
“I thought we reacted pretty well to it, we had lots of corners and pressure in the last 15 or 20 minutes but without really getting anything. But overall, we’ve played well, I think.”
McCarthy says the situation going into Saturday’s game might be more clear cut if they were playing badly.
“It is difficult, but that’s the manager’s life,” he said. “I guess you’re damned if you do [make changes] and you’re damned if you don’t.
“If I do and we don’t play well and we don’t win, they’ll say, ‘You’ve been playing well’, but if I keep the same team and we don’t win they’ll say I could have changed it, so it’s picking and choosing. You’ll see on Saturday what I’ve done.
“And if you see beforehand and anything’s on Twitter there’ll be fines going on. I’ve told them that!”
Looking back to his first game in charge of the Blues at Birmingham last November, he says that 1-0 victory was crucial: “It was vital because of all the points we needed to stay in the league. But also to give everybody a bit of belief in what I was doing you’ve got to hit the ground running and get something.
“We did, it was a really good performance, and then we got slapped 5-0. But the first game was a great win, a really important win.”
Looking ahead to today’s game, he’s not sure whether Birmingham’s Capital One Cup extra-time and penalties exploits at Yeovil in midweek, they eventually won the shoot-out 3-2 after a 3-3 draw, will have an effect on them: “We hope so, don’t we? That’s the hope.
“Who knows? Footballers are pretty physically fit characters. If they lose to us on Saturday, somebody will say that it was because they were at Yeovil on Tuesday.
“If they beat us they’ll be saying that maybe Tuesday night was good for them and they had a few players coming back. I don’t know, I don’t get wrapped up in all that.
“But, of course, if you’ve travelled to Yeovil, you’ve exerted yourself, and add extra-time as well, it’s a tough week for them. But then they don’t have to travel for Saturday, we’ve got to get up there.”
A slow start to a season shouldn’t necessarily be a concern with McCarthy recalling Sunderland’s 2004/05 Championship-winning campaign when they had four points after four games.
“We came back after the international break and we blossomed after that,” he remembered. ”We won 4-0 at Gillingham. So, there are 42 games to play.”
The Town boss expects fans making the trip to St Andrew’s to be in good spirits despite the early setbacks: “The away support has been fabulous. I’m sure they’ll stick with us, they did all through last season. Results haven’t been good but they’ve seen us play well.
“I would still think there is room for optimism rather than pessimism at the way we’ve played. Results not great, but there are a lot of games to play yet.”
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