McCarthy: Nervy Time for Fans of All Challenging Clubs
Saturday, 14th Mar 2015 06:00
Town boss Mick McCarthy believes fans of all the clubs in the Championship promotion race will be feeling “nervousness and trepidation” as their sides go into the final 10 games of the season. The seventh-placed Blues face Middlesbrough, who are fourth, five points ahead of them, at the Riverside live on Sky this lunchtime (KO 12.15pm).
“Unfortunately nervousness and trepidation and worry turn into a real surge of negativity everywhere,” McCarthy said.
“There’ll not be one fan of all the top six or seven who think they’re going to win promotion.
“Well, they will, but then they’ll think ‘Oh no, we’re playing them, that’ll happen and look at this, they’ve scored this and they’ve got this fella and we’ve got him’.
“Every one of them will be doing that and it’s just natural. To an extent we all do it. But then you’ve got to get the old professional head on and go and win games.
“It’s funny, when you win a game it’s ‘We’re all great’, that’s the same everywhere. If we go up and turn Middlesbrough over, they’ll all be thinking they’ve no chance of getting promotion.
“Likewise, if we get turned over, everybody will think the same. It still goes to May 2nd and the play-offs to May 25th.
“Some of us who thought we might get first or second might be doing that, who knows who it’s going to be yet.”
Although there will be that twitchiness amongst the home support, McCarthy admits that he’d rather be playing the Teessiders at Portman Road.
“Truthfully, I’d sooner be playing Middlesbrough here,” he added. “We’ll have to go up there and play really well and be at the top of our game against one of the best teams in the league, with one of the best squads in the league and we’ll have to be bang at it.
“And if we’re not, we might be coming back down the road with our tails between our legs ruing a missed opportunity.
“But I get the sentiment that at this time of the season if we score first, if we don’t let them score for 60 minutes or 40 minutes, it all gets nervy, of course it does.
“Their fans, like everybody else’s, will be on edge and they’ll get hugely frustrated unless they’re winning pretty damned quickly. But I’d still sooner be playing them at Portman Road.”
Having convincingly beaten Boro 2-0 at home in December, McCarthy expects his opposite number Aitor Karanka to take a different approach this time around.
“If we’ve been turned over by a team we set up to do something different maybe to stop them,” he continued. “You’d be crazy if you didn’t, that would be amateurish.
“It would be unprofessional that if we’d turned a team over that they’d just let us do it again to them.
“There might be a mistake, there might be a wonder goal but if [in similar circumstances] we just let the team that’s beaten us do exactly the same to us by playing a certain shape and we don’t try and stop it, that’s when I would get the sack at some stage because I’d not be doing my job properly.”
The Blues have taken only 14 points from their last 12 games and have won just once in their last five, but McCarthy says the Blues aren’t the only ones who have found results harder to come by in the second half of the season.
“[That’s been the case] for everybody. We’re five points off the top. We could be having this conversation at every club in the Championship.
“Nobody’s run away with it, Derby, Middlesbrough, Norwich, we’ve all had our runs, we’ve all had our bad spells.
“Why is it harder? Have we all played each other? Have we sussed each other out? Does it just get tougher physically? Is there a lack of sharpness?
“I’ve no idea. I haven’t got an answer for you. Just a simple one. It just becomes tougher and it’s going to be tough for the next 10 games.”
Photo: Action Images
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