McCarthy: Keep Focused
Tuesday, 16th Apr 2013 23:13
Boss Mick McCarthy says the Blues need to keep their focus in the final three games of the season after their 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace took them to within touching distance of securing their Championship status for 2013/14.
Despite Town climbing to 13th, five points clear of the drop zone, McCarthy says there were no celebrations on the touchline at the end: “As you noticed, I wasn’t dancing about with my knickers in the air at the final whistle because we’re not mathematically safe.
“We’re in a far better position than a lot of others and we’ve got three to play, two difficult away games against teams who are in it with us. We need to keep our focus and make sure that we do our job properly.”
The Blues boss said Aaron Cresswell’s stunner would be a Goal of the Season contender if strikes outside the Premier League are taken into account: “If they judge them out of the Championship there’s every chance.
“It’s got to be a contender, it was a wonderful strike, but I’d guess David Vaughan at Sunderland would have something to say about it, his goal was similar.”
Two-goal striker Frank Nouble grabbed most of the headlines, although McCarthy felt he started the match slowly like most of his team-mates: “I’m not so sure for the first 20 minutes, but that could be said for all of them!
“He was excellent, he finished his goals really well. Even the first one, he’s had to come back on his right foot, he didn’t take a slash at it with his left foot. He was calm.
“And his second goal was a great finish and he’s run them all over the place, their back four. I thought he was excellent.”
The Town manager took a chance on the 21-year-old when he brought him in from Wolves in January and he revealed what a bargain he was: “I had a bit of inside information. TC had worked with him for four months and I tried to sign him myself at Wolves. I fancied him because of his power and his pace.
“TC had worked with him, so it was a more calculated risk than anybody would have thought, and at £25,000 it’s never really a risk, is it?”
McCarthy said he spoke to Palace boss Ian Holloway on his way into the press conference: “I just met him in the corridor and he said ‘You didn’t deserve that on Saturday and you didn’t deserve what happened to you at Selhurst Park’.
“Ollie’s a good guy, he’s an honest guy and he’ll know that for 20 minutes they were giving us a bit of a hiding but without working Loachy, they had corners.
“But then he knows his team’s committed suicide really, with the mistakes that they’ve made. But Frank’s got to chase it down, he’s got to finish the next one and it required finishing off.”
Looking back to November’s 5-0 defeat at Palace in his second game in charge, McCarthy says he’d never have been appointed if the Blues had defended as they did in the second half: “I wouldn’t have been here if they’d have been playing like that.
“You know what I said after the Birmingham game, my very first game, I said ‘You should be ashamed of yourselves, I shouldn’t even be here if you can play like that’.
“So, they’ve proved that they can play, although by the way we were awful for 20 minutes, we couldn’t pass it to a blue shirt.
“And yet goals change games and we were far better after that. But we had to defend and we defended really well and when it was tough we stayed tough and didn’t give anything away.”
Holloway was pleased with the way the game began: “It all started fine. I thought we looked fantastic, we were moving the ball around. Up until the goal, I was more than happy, I felt really comfortable, I thought that was the best we’d been for a while.
“I could see the improvement, they were a bit nervous, they were a bit edgy and in a couple of minutes it was all turned around.
“Will the kid ever score another goal like that in his life? Probably not? Will my goalie make a mistake like that and will my centre-half make a mistake like that? Talk about having the stuffing knocked out of you. And then it’s difficult to say the least.”
But he felt Town perhaps deserved some good fortune given some aspects of their defeat at Selhurst Park: “I remember seeing us get three penalties in a row in the home game and sometimes what goes around comes around.
“Their second goal was an outstanding strike but we should have had someone back goal side of him, and we didn’t, which isn’t good enough.”
Photo: Action Images
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