McCarthy: Top Two Now Unlikely
Saturday, 14th Mar 2015 15:46
Boss Mick McCarthy admitted that the Blues are now unlikely to finish in the top two following this afternoon’s 4-1 defeat at Middlesbrough.
“It depends on the other results, but if we end up eight points behind two teams or three teams, I don’t see there’s any chance we’re going to win three more games than any of the others,” he conceded after the lunchtime game.
The later results confirmed that Town, who are still in seventh, are indeed eight points behind three teams, new leaders Bournemouth, second-placed Watford and Boro. The Cherries beat Blackpool 4-0 at Dean Court, while Watford beat Reading 4-1 at Vicarage Road.
Elsewhere, Norwich and Derby drew 1-1 at Carrow Road, Brentford - sixth a point ahead of Town - lost 2-1 at home to nine-man Cardiff and Wolves - eighth, two points behind the Blues - drew 1-1 at Brighton.
The Blues manager was disappointed to concede Boro’s two first-half goals from corners: “It wasn’t like us, that’s been one of our strengths. From the two corner kicks, they’ve worked the two corners well. We know how to defend them and we didn’t defend them.
“The first one, we didn’t defend the header. Having got back into it, I thought we were the better side in the first half and I don’t watch with rose-coloured spectacles.
“We were done again from another corner kick, but I still thought we played very well. And then it’s bad defending for the other two goals that’s cost us.
“If you give goals away to anybody it’s going to be difficult but certainly to a team like Middlesbrough.
“I’ll take responsibility for way we were in the last 15 minutes because I’ve put strikers on and I’m trying to get back in the game.
“We lost our shape and our discipline a bit and they had more chances than they would have done and it looked a bit shambolic, but I’ll take the responsibility for that.”
Keeper Dean Gerken suffered a blow to the head in the incident which saw Daniel Ayala score Boro’s first goal in the fourth minute and was stretchered off.
“I’m hoping that he’s OK, he’s gone to the hospital for a scan,” McCarthy said.
“I’d love to be able to give good news to his wife because she had a baby yesterday morning and I’d imagine watching that game and seeing him stretchered off with oxygen on his face was extremely difficult and upsetting for her, as it was for all of us, but especially for her. He was taken straight off to hospital.”
Gerken, who was playing only his second game since being recalled to the side, travelled back to Suffolk on Saturday evening.
Despite automatic promotion now seeming unlikely, McCarthy says the task now is to stay in the hunt for a play-off place.
“I am focused on that, absolutely,” he continued. “I never thought it was going to be easy here.
“I thought we played really well, I was delighted with our performance in the first half but not the goals we gave away. We’ve got to go again [at home to Bolton on] Tuesday. Still focused on it.”
Boro boss Aitor Karanka, whose team are away at Derby on Tuesday and Bournemouth next Saturday, was delighted to get the trio of big games off to a winning start.
“I’m very pleased, we’ve played against a very good team, a strong team,: he said. "They’ve finished the game with four strikers and it’s difficult to play against them.
“Now the main thing is that we are eight points above them and they are in seventh position, so that’s very good for us and it’s a very good way to establish [ourselves in a] big week.”
Photo: Action Images
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