McCarthy: Best of the Season
Saturday, 6th Dec 2014 18:30
Boss Mick McCarthy believes Town’s 4-1 home victory over Leeds was the Blues best win of the season so far. Top scorer Daryl Murphy netted twice and David McGoldrick (pen) and Christophe Berra once as Town came from behind to beat the West Yorkshiremen comfortably.
“It was the best for a number of reasons,” McCarthy said. “One, that we went 1-0 down and had to recover from that from a team that’s been playing well.
“And two, scoring four goals. And I think the all-round performance was very good. It’s as good as anything we’ve done I would say.”
Despite Town’s three-goal lead he says he couldn’t relax too much on the touchline during the second half: “Enjoy, maybe not because you just don’t want them to score.
“You’re still on red alert and everybody should still be disciplined and still doing the right things; not going backwards, keeping playing forward, keeping them on the front foot.
“But I would have to say for the last five minutes or so I started to get cold, young Matt Clarke just said to me said it was great we weren’t defending a corner at the end and he was right.
“It’s the first time that I can remember for a while that we’re not biting our nails, so that was nice.”
While he agreed the third goal just before the break was significant, he felt the fourth was crucial: “I think the vital goal was just after half-time, although I take the point about the third goal.
“I was just asked whether my teamtalk changed but it didn’t really, I was a bit happier with my teamtalk but the next goal was still vital.
“If it had gone to 3-2, we’ve seen it, momentum changes, so to start like we did in the second half and the game was really put to bed with the fourth goal. We kept pushing and we could have more and we limited them to very few chances.”
He added: “We were probably having the same teamtalk at half-time - don’t let them get in front, don’t let them get a foothold in the game, get on the front foot.
“Perhaps our momentum carried on from the first half. I have to say, I thought they’d got some good players, some good forward players and in the first half they caused us some problems.
“But I think the third goal certainly gave us some more momentum and we carried it on from there.”
Striker Murphy’s two goals took him to 13 for the season - the same as he scored in the entire 2013/14 campaign - and back to the head of the Championship goalscoring table.
His manager pondered how many the Irishman is now aiming for: “I’m certain that it’s always his target, to beat last season’s tally. I wonder what his target is now.
“I know he’ll say ‘As many as I can get’, but he’s matched his target in less than half a season, so let’s see if he can be up there in the 20s and the leading goalscorer in the league.”
He says the 31-year-old has benefited from working with assistant boss Terry Connor as well as the confidence his manager has in him.
“What’s changed? One, he works every Friday with TC and TC is as good a striker coach as there is,” McCarthy continued. “He puts great sessions on, they all love it, they all thrive on it. He’s helped them all.
“And two, I wanted to sign him and make him our primary striker with a number nine on his back.
“That makes a big difference, and yet if he’s asked to play out wide left he goes and does it selflessly.
“I just think he’s enjoying it, he’s settled, he’s always liked it here, even when he was on his 17-year loan he liked it. His family have grown up and got jobs he’s been here so long.
“He enjoyed it and then I think for me to say ‘Come on, I want you as my number nine’ I think that’s given him a great deal of confidence.
“It’s a big thing for any player. They say numbers don’t matter. People say they’ll play if they’ve got 33 on their back, it doesn’t matter, but I just saw a quote, ‘You don’t see many number nines on the bench’, unless they’re having one, of course.
“Likewise, if you’re a centre-half and you get number five or six, you’re up in the pecking order.
“Tyrone Mings wanted number three and he’s got it and he’s deserving of it. It’s a tiny little thing, but if it makes him feel good about himself, it helps.”
McCarthy also had praise for McGoldrick, who netted his sixth goal of the season from the penalty spot.
“He is a handful,” he said. “We had a multi-million pound bid for him which shows what a good player he is.
“I think it’s testimony to his character that he’s continued to play and do all the dirty jobs that he does like tackling back at the end of the game and nicking it. He’s a good character, I’m delighted with him. I think I’ve got a very capable front two.”
Regarding Town’s fourth goal, the Blues boss believes it was Berra’s fifth of the season rather than Tommy Smith’s third.
“I think it’s Berra’s goal,” he said. “He’s certainly claiming it. I think Tommy’s still claiming it too, so you better ask them!
“I was more concerned that the linesman was going to stick his flag up and give offside, but I think he came from behind the ball.”
Leeds manager Neil Redfearn was impressed with Town and was disappointed his side faded having gone in front.
“They’re a good side, they’re second in the table and they’re there for a reason,” he said.
“We started really brightly, it was a good start, a good goal, a well-taken goal but then we just took our foot off the pedal for whatever reason and the defensive mistakes, you can’t come to places like Ipswich Town and give good sides a leg up and that’s what we did.”
Photo: Action Images
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