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McCarthy: Just Like a Dream!
Saturday, 6th Aug 2016 18:34

Boss Mick McCarthy admitted that the Blues’ second half went more as he’d dreamed it than he’d planned it after substitute debutant Grant Ward netted a hat-trick to see Town to a 4-2 opening day victory over Barnsley at Portman Road.

Asked whether the dual half-time additions of Ward and fellow new signing Conor Grant went as planned, McCarthy quipped: “No, maybe as a dreamed it!

“In the end [it was a good afternoon], it didn’t look like it after 45 minutes when they were the better team and deserved to be in front.

“But the second-half substitutes have just turned it around completely, well one of them anyway. But they both contributed.”

He added: “I knew I had two good players. We’ve been saying, me and TC, that he’s definitely got a goal in him, but I didn’t think he’d got three in 45 minutes! And all really good strikes.

“He’s impressed everybody since he’s come in, as has Conor Grant as well. But Bish was toiling, it was hard work for him, typical the sun came out the first day of the season.

“They played well, we were having to do a lot of work and Bru had been booked, so it was just a common sense decision to take him off.

“We went 4-3-3 and it worked and it was Grant Ward that was free because of it, probably. He’s run on to a ball in the middle of the park and smashed it into the net. I wanted more goals from midfield!

“We’ve seen he can do it, he had three great strikes, and the other fella’s got a wand of a left foot.

“It’s fresh blood, hopefully it continues to work. It’s worked today, let’s hope it does for the rest of the season.”

He says he was always going to start with this week’s signings Ward and Grant on the bench: “I’d made my mind up to start with the team I had. To be fair, Bish has been in all the pre-season games.

“I wasn’t going to play him in the middle of the park, both of them would have been playing wide and it would have been a little bit unfair on Freddie as well. It’s nice when it works out.”

McCarthy admitted that opting for Christophe Berra ahead of Tommy Smith was difficult: “Tommy was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. We’ve had three debutants on the pitch as well, which is pretty good.

“I thought Webbo is learning the Championship, it’s a step up, he’ll get better and better.

“It was a difficult decision with Tommy. I wanted a right-sided defender, so we can play out the back, play from there and have a bit better balance. There’s going to be a helluva scrap to play in those positions.”

McCarthy felt his strike pair Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick were effective without being at the top of the game.

“I thought early on it was a bit of a mix really, both sides were having chances,” the Town boss continued. “I’m happy to have them back, but I can’t say that that was an outstanding performance from Didz and Murph.

“In the second half when we went to 4-3-3 they caused them problems but nobody’s really fully fit. Didzy’s missed a helluva lot of football, Murph’s come back and been away all summer. It’ll take them a few games to get up to speed. But overall I was pleased with them.”

Despite the victory, McCarthy admitted to having concerns: “I’m not happy that we conceded two from freekicks, I’m less happy though that we gave the freekicks away as we had the ball on both occasions, lost it and had to give freekicks away.

“But it’s nice when you can look at it on a Sunday morning and pick the bones out of it with three points on the table.

“I would imagine out of all 23 fixtures some will have played well, some will have played badly, some will be happy, some won’t be happy, some will have played well and got beat. That’s just the way the league is.

“So it’s nice that we can be sat with three points and me and TC can go and pick the bones out of it tomorrow morning at 7 o’clock.”

Having spoken about wanting to win fans back after last season’s disappointing home displays, he feels fans will have enjoyed today’s game - the second half at least - albeit not necessarily for the right reasons.

“Anybody who has come today will have been entertained, there’s no doubt,” he continued. “But I would have imagined after the first half they were all thinking of leaving.

“Funny what 45 minutes can do, and all of a sudden we’re all [upbeat]. That’s why us managers and coaches have to go in tomorrow morning and pick the bones out of it rather than saying, ‘That was great, we won 4-2 and everything’s rosy’, because quite clearly it wasn’t with the whole performance.”

McCarthy also had praise for keeper Bartosz Bialkowski, in particular for his remarkable first-half stop from Tom Bradshaw: “That was a bonkers save, I don’t how he’s done it.

“He does it all the time in training. He frustrates the hell out of our strikers, he gets applauded for it. He’s a fabulous goalkeeper and that was just an outstanding one. I don’t know how he got his hand to that.”

The Town boss says he had to go a fetch Ward into the dressing room after the match: “He was signing autographs and having selfies with his adoring public, wasn’t he. I thought I’d go and get involved in a few! No, I was trying to drag him in.

“Despite he scored the goals and we’ve won the game, everybody else was on that pitch. It’s a team game. By all means enjoy that, and I’m glad he did, but he needs to enjoy it with his team-mates, who over the next 45 games are going to be running, kicking, bollocking, biting and chasing and they’ve got to look after each other.

“So it’s important that he celebrates with his team-mates as well, which he did. They were all delighted for him.”

Asked whether Ward will keep his place? “He might do, for Tuesday.”

Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom said his side were given a few lessons on life in the Championship: “That’s the difference in going up a league and we have to learn from it.

“There were lots of positives but it’s frustrating that Ipswich had six shots, all on target, and scored four goals.

“It’s not just that, it’s the manner of the goals we conceded. We would normally expect to stop them.

“The players will know we can cope at this level and that we belong here but we’re not going to be a pretty team that gets beaten.”

Photo: Action Images

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Miles added 18:37 - Aug 6
Code blue is definitely some Hydra trick where you bring on the mighty Grant Ward! COYB

big_gaz67 added 18:39 - Aug 6
1. It was nil nil at half time Mick
2. There are 24 teams in the league therefore 12 fixtures not 23 doh!

Mark added 18:47 - Aug 6
What a second half! 0-0 at half-time was just like last season, with the team looking second best at passing and showing a lack of pace. It was absolutely right to take off the two players on yellow-cards and to bring on the new boys, and what an impact from Ward. Every shot he hit - somehow - made it into the back of the net. Brilliant. So important to start the season with a win. COYB!

TractorBeezer added 18:53 - Aug 6
A very useful start to a challenging two months. The new signings have improved the squad while lowering the average age. Defence needs tightening and team still needs to gel. Congrats to Grant Ward for such a dream start....what a tonic for us all!
And well done MM and ME for signing him.

jas0999 added 19:15 - Aug 6
Completely agree with the assessment. Terrible first half - numerous errors with team selection. Great subs and an excellent second half. Not great defensively though. When you actually spend money on players, you do tend to reap the rewards. Toure and Coke prove what happens when you opt for cheap! Good stuff second half.

Tractorboy1985 added 19:29 - Aug 6
Never met u jas but I always look at your comments as 90% of the time it's a genuine analysis of the game! Like I've said previous.. Have to meet for a pre match pint sometime! Up the town!

muccletonjoe added 19:41 - Aug 6
Early days. But bish looked far from upto sctatch. Both him and bru will have to up their game this season or they will be warming the bench alot this winter.

NSL added 19:56 - Aug 6
Great start and don't want to pick out a moan but is Bishop really worth raving over? Yeah we all want him to be good but I'm just thinking back to Kieron Dyer, Darren Bent etc etc when they came through and Bish Is not even in the same league in my opinion.......

Mr_Evans added 20:18 - Aug 6
We were very very fortunate today! Bart pulled off a great save at 0-0, one of their blokes flicked his completely free header from 6 yards down Barts throat and Bru should have been sent walking for two yellows. This could have been a very different story.
Grant come on and scored 3 well taken goals, albeit some very bad defending from Barnsley!
Bish was pish, Bru was off pace and Sears seem very quiet today. I also noticed that Webster was being forced to knock it long - quite a handful of times he had the ball at his feet and there was nothing open for him. What's the point in bringing in a ball playing CB if the midfield aren't going to make themselves available.
A great 4-2 win that will breed confidence. Let's hope for a good win against Stevenage, a solid away performance at Brentfird so we go into the derby ready and willing to fight!!

The_Romford_Blue added 20:21 - Aug 6
Big Gaz:

There are 23 home fixtures? What are you talking about.

big_gaz67 added 20:27 - Aug 6
Romford Blue

He says

“I would imagine out of all 23 fixtures some will have played well, some will have played badly, some will be happy, some won’t be happy, some will have played well and got beat. That’s just the way the league is."

He doesn't say out of our 23 fixtures in some we will have played well etc etc - It reads to me like he is talking about the rest of the league not the rest of our fixtures.

Bobby_Petta added 21:43 - Aug 6
Great second half, 3 wonderful strikes from Grant. Thought Barnsley had a lot more of the ball than us at times. Do worry when we play better sides, still a lot of square pegs in round holes, we need more width in wide areas, would like to see more attacking full backs, Chambers is not the answer, would like to Josh Emmanunel given a chance some stage this season. I would play Sears through the middle with Murphy with Mccgoldrick behind them and play the Grant and Ward out wide, Bishop needs to play through the Middle to. Credit to Mick for getting what looks like a couple decent wingers.

Seasider added 22:11 - Aug 6
As so often agree with JAS,thought Mick was very truthful in what he says, and saw flaws that hopefully can be rectified
Also hope he will put out a decent team on Tuesday unlike last season

Seasider added 22:15 - Aug 6
Sorry Bobby Petta,down marked in error

MVBlue added 22:20 - Aug 6
Open your cheque book Marcus. You will have untold wealth if you do so. Mick can do this of hes given the players. The dour football comes from playing to limites strengths. We all want this. I've seen the future and its highly talented hungry young players.

carsey added 22:34 - Aug 6
Make no mistake while it was good to win and see Grant get his hat trick town were generally poor and a decent side would have buried us in the first half.
For me it should be Smith not Berra alongside Webster Berra just wants to wrestle with everyone and will sooner or later give away a penalty.
Freddie Sears is totally wasted again out on the wing and aa for the passing game so much talked about before the match, that starts with Bart who just wants to lump it up the pitch as far away as possible. If you don't believe me look at every goal kick - every player turns their back and runs to the half way line.
Nothing has changed yet and frankly I don't think it will.

htb added 23:08 - Aug 6
Drab first half Barnsley were the better team. Much better second half with the new signings showing a lot of positives, particularly Grant Ward. Webster did not show much of his ability to play out from the back but was solid enough. A good entertaining start.

flashblue added 00:02 - Aug 7
Nice to see Mick having a go at the hat trick hero. Dick.

oldegold added 00:16 - Aug 7
Despite a poor first first half which brought back the shudders of last season's dire performances and typical MM safety first hoofing, the second half shows what you can reap if you attack and go for a win.
Let's hope our erstwhile manager will not revert to type and insult the intelligence of money paying supporters and for the first time take a cup tournament seriously and field our best team against Stevenage, though I pretty much doubt it.
Ultimately, football is about being courageous and playing to win and i sincerely hope that our manager in the twilight of his years finally understands this and gives us a season to shout about and as challengers and not offer any more boring hoof it up ....let's really go for it this season.
Naarwich down the road went for broke and look what they managed...fortune favours the brave.

martleshamitfc added 00:21 - Aug 7
Oldegold I agree about the cup game but MM will pick a 2nd team but to be honest this should be ok against Stevenage? Gerken , Emmanuel, Smith, Digby, Kenlock, Grant, Douglas, Dozzell, McDonnell, Pitman , Morris or Patterson.

essex57 added 07:45 - Aug 7
Martleshamitfc when you look at that team you've put down it looks as strong as last year's first team another reason to be cheerful.

VulpineBlue added 08:14 - Aug 7
Mick needs to have a word with Kevin Bru and particularly Teddy Bishop about their attitudes. Teddy hasn't delivered yet, and because of the 'star' treatment' dished out to him I worry about the pressure of expectation on him. I'd hate him to believe in his own myth at this stage. I thought this clearly showed yesterday, where his replacement played with much more freedom and was far more effective.

Penguinblue added 09:14 - Aug 7
Great debut
But lets not overlook the first half - nothing had changed. Usual McCarthy hoofball crap.

Chambers at fault, as always, at right back, for being beaten in the lead up to their first goal. Nothing against Webster, but what did he show that Smith hasn't got?

New signings are positive though - all we need is to sign a football manager

Cheshire_Blue added 09:52 - Aug 7
Great 2nd half performance to win the match. Well done Mick and the team. Pity about the usual old crap on TWTD.

budgieplucker added 10:23 - Aug 7
Putting aside our two new midfield recruits and Tommy Smith, arguably we started with our eleven best players on the pitch yesterday. I think Teddy will be a great player for us but the weight of expectation seemed to weigh heavily on his shoulders. Kevin Bru is one the better technical players at the club as well. However putting things in perspective Grant Ward has scored as many goals in 45 minutes as Kevin has in two seasons. Grant scoring more than Teddy and Cole Skuse have already in their time wearing a first team shirt. Goals from midfield has been a big weakness for us in recent seasons. I wouldn't necessarily typecast Grant as a winger he can play across the midfield and in some respects we have missed a box to box midfielder since David Norris. Look what position Grant was in when he scored the first goal NOT where you would expect a right winger. Johnny Walk had the art of arriving in the right space at the right time not being picked up by markers. I am not sure any of our starting midfield three despite their other strengths have this attribute to their game. MM may just want to consider playing Grant in a more central role so he can make the sort of runs he did for the first goal. To play 4 3 3, and I was having a nostalgic look at youtube Town games from the late 70s and early 80s and many of these games I witnessed live, Sir Bob played a 4 3 3 formation and it was very evident how important good fullbacks are, the likes of Mills, Burley and McCall were aching to get forward at every opportunity and we're very instrumental in making themselves available and wanting the ball. Our fullbacks today very much see the ball as a hot potato. Going back to my earlier remarks about arguably our best 11 players starting the match yesterday it probably highlights that we are still very much operating a square peg and round hole syndrome with some of our players being rendered ineffective.

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