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Cardiff City 3 v 1 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 18th March 2017 Kick-off 15:00
McCarthy: We're in a Relegation Scrap
Saturday, 18th Mar 2017 18:30

Boss Mick McCarthy admitted Town are in a “relegation scrap” following their 3-1 defeat at Cardiff City, the Blues having dropped to 17th, just five points above the relegation zone.

“We were well beaten,” he reflected on the defeat to the Bluebirds, who came from behind to win after Luke Chambers had put Town in front. “We were poor and I thought they were good.

“I guess [Cardiff boss] Neil [Warnock] will say that you go out and beat somebody and you make them play poorly, badly, you don’t let them get going.

“I thought they were very good but I didn’t think we were anywhere near what our standards have been.”

The Blues boss, who was celebrating his 25th anniversary as a manager, felt Cardiff’s second goal five minutes after the break was a key moment.

“We won the first header, then it got headed back on top of us and we didn’t win the first ball, we didn’t win the second one and it ended up in the back of our net. It was really poor from us, poor defending.

“All three. We’ve not defended well for any of them. We didn’t get organised for the set piece, having talked about it. They won’t score an easier equaliser, that’s for sure.”

He added: “We didn’t start well at all, we gave far too many freekicks away, they were putting it in freely from the edge of our box.

“Having got the goal, you never know what’s going to happen, we thought we might get a response and I think we did actually, it was OK then.

“It was their goal, we’ve allowed them to stick the ball in the box, which was really poor. But you could see it coming, they were putting a lot of pressure on us.”

At half-time McCarthy switched from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 but he admitted the change didn’t work.

“Because what we were doing wasn’t working,” he continued. “The way they were playing, I think our back three defenders were almost being occupied by one striker and it wasn’t working. But it didn’t work the other way around when I took him [Tommy Smith] off either.

“[The second] was an awful goal to concede. We’ve got a back four and we weren’t really organised, it’s not like we haven’t played a back four. To think that we can’t play a back four is ridiculous, we’ve played that for pretty much four and a half years since I’ve been here.”

With eight games to go the Blues look to be one of seven sides battling to avoid finishing 22nd, which would see Town drop into the third tier for the first time since 1957.

“We’re in a relegation scrap, I’ve never denied that,” he said. “I’ve been asked that in press conferences all the time and I’ve always said I’m looking over my shoulder or in the wing mirrors at teams behind me not up in front of me.

“I’ve not been shying away from that ever and we can’t afford to play like that because there’s always somebody that slithers into that bottom three and always somebody that scraps their way out.

“And it’s funny, when you’re trying to scrap your way out, it’s amazing how much fight you have in you and when you’re going the other way it can be quite the opposite.”

Having been the ones fighting their way out of trouble in his first season in charge, the boot is now on the opposite foot.

“It is,” he admitted. “We all need to regroup I think in the week prior to the games that are coming up, they’re huge games, Birmingham and Wigan. We’ll certainly need to compete better and play better than we have.”

Given the Blues’ form, does he feel it’s a good or a bad time to have a break with no game next weekend due to the international fixtures.

“It doesn’t matter, we’ll find out when we come back against Birmingham whether it’s a good time or not, when we have those two games,” he reflected.

“It’s just important that when we do come back everybody’s in it together and we make it a really tough place for people to come, Portman Road. They’re huge games, massive games for us.”

McCarthy says he understands the frustrations felt by fans: “Do I look happy? I’m not happy with it at all and I’m not happy that people aren’t happy with me or with the players or with the club.

“I fully understand the dissenting voices but we’ve just got to make sure we’re staying in this league.”

The Town boss says it’s not easy to work out why form has fallen away after the promising displays in February.

“It’s more than frustrating, it’s bloody annoying,” he added. “Why have they not continued? It’s difficult to put your finger on it because we were playing particularly well, playing well with the 3-5-2. It wasn’t great last week and it wasn’t great today.”

Despite the result, McCarthy says he still plans to give players some time off during the international break.

“I will be, yes,” he continued. “There’s no point in bringing them in and hammering them, that’s not going to do any good.

“I think we need to be fresh when Birmingham and Wigan come to our place, we need to be full of running.”

Warnock was pleased that his team's performance brought them three points.

“We’ve had our opportunities with a little bit more nous we would have had nine points from three games," he reflected.

“As I said to the players just now, if you’d have told me when I walked through the door that we’d have 51 points with eight games to go, I’d have snapped your fingers off.

“You’ve got to give them credit, they’ve listened and learned and you can see they’re enjoying it, they’re winning their battles in every department.

“And there were some good goals today as well, I thought. A good atmosphere with the fans, just what we wanted before the international break.”

He added: “We wanted to change it slightly today, we were outnumbered in midfield today but we said let’s have a gamble.

“Last week we went with a different system and it was boring, I didn’t enjoy it at all, even though we should have won. I want to enjoy it if I can.

“I thought today it was a gamble because they could have picked us off in midfield but I thought we created more with the strikers on the field than we would have done like we did last week.

“I’m pleased that we scored the goals because that’s what we set out to do today, to be a bit more positive. Whenever the full-backs could get on that’s what I wanted them to do today, to get bombing on as much as they could.

“I thought they both did ever so well apart from the break away from the freekick when they should have scored [through Grant Ward], I thought we should have been stronger there then, but we’ll learn from that.”

Danny Baker Live! Good Time Charlie's Back. Ipswich Regent Theatre, Ipswich, Thursday 10th May 2018 at 19:30. Get your tickets before they sell out.

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Penguinblue added 18:34 - Mar 18
International break. Best time to sack McCarthy now.
McCarthy OUT

DurhamTownFan added 18:36 - Mar 18
The word 'scrap' here says it all. That's what MM tries to turn every game into, instead of being brace and trying to win

International break to get this mug out of the club and hatch a plan for the last few games!

Mark added 18:36 - Mar 18
How will we beat Birmingham and Wigan when we line up so defensively? A back 5 with 2 defensive midfielders... How many times can we keep trying that and failing to win?

Whatever the tactics though, the failure to spend on a replacement for Murphy is now looking like it could be a absolute disaster, with a collapse in season ticket sales and possibly relegation.

CalmoreBlue added 18:37 - Mar 18
No Sh1t Sherlock????????

Taricco_Fan added 18:39 - Mar 18
We've been sleepwalking into a relegation scrap all season. Now it's very much 'on like Donkey Kong'.

Too many heads buried in the sand for too long.

Westy added 18:39 - Mar 18
It is negative football in so many games this season that has put us there. MM has been too 'happy' with draws.

groovyASH added 18:40 - Mar 18
The buck stops with you, McCarthy. January 2016 till 2017 were poor but we seem to have downed another gear since. How many times do we have to hear of poor defending before the undroppables are dropped for their poor form?

Bluetone added 18:40 - Mar 18
“I thought they were very good but I didn’t think we were anywhere near what our standards have been.”
Wrong I think we were exactly where our standards have been, the problem is you are in denial.

Just think McCarthy waking up to a full Yorkshire breakfast and a couple of cups of Yorkshire tea. Then a walk on the Yorkshire Dales a stop at a hostelry and a pint or two of Yorkshire bitter while you regale the locals with tales of all your great achievements.

Then home to your Yorkshire home and a Sunday lunch of roast beef, horse radish sauce and Yorkshire puddings with all the trimmings washed down with another glass of Yorkshire bitter.

Then an afternoon snooze in your favourite armchair while daydreaming of all your, mostly imaginary, glittering successes.

Go on McCarthy go for it I'm certain we will survive much better without your brand of exciting entertaining football.

cat added 18:42 - Mar 18
Shame... was expecting the Dino to come out fighting, two fingers and one liners both sadly missing. 😭 Maybe Mick has lost his fight, as that interview pretty much reflects his toothless tactics.

Stick with or sack now????? Risky strategy on both fronts...


jas0999 added 18:42 - Mar 18
I can't think of a single other club who would keep their manager with this horrendous win record in 2017. Sadly, I rate Evans as one of the worst owners in football.

Mick is deluded. He talks about recent standards. Norwich, Brentford, Wolves, Barnsley and Cardiff. Assume he means all rubbish?

SingBlue added 18:46 - Mar 18
Not sure what the point of MM is now
He doesn't know his best team (after all these years!)
He's not inspiring the players anymore
He being here isn't going to sell many season tickets
A caretaker manager cannot do's impossible to
Now is the time to change - we can only benefit from it

blue75 added 18:50 - Mar 18
So next game it'll be back to 4-2-3-1!!! Probably Skuse and Douglas as well!!!! Thanks McCarthy for the worst period of well you can't really call it football but that's the title it's given. My season ticket renewal depends on McCarthy not being there!!! McCarthy Out!!!!

christiand added 18:50 - Mar 18
The last four performances have been less than inspiring, since the Norwich game. I'm always amazed when MM actually thinks we are decent defensively? The amount of silly goals and consistent mistakes we make. He is lucky that Bart plays so well that it gives the impression we are defensively decent as don't concede copious amount of goals, but have a look how many MoM awards Bart has won! Make no mistake we're in a relegation scrap, my suggestion MM is your dour approach and negative tactics have got us in this position take the handbrake off and actually go on the offensive against Birmingham and Wigan because time and again we've showed that we are not good enough to keep 1-0 leads.

surgery added 18:54 - Mar 18
Usual load of not worth reading drivel

Sam added 18:55 - Mar 18
Carry on like this and it won't be a relegation scrap. It'll be we are relegated. Surely you don't want ten year olds like me to actually cry at this rubbish. I went to Brightlingsea today and their second half display was far better than 3/4 of the games at P.R. MICK OUT FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NoelTheDub added 18:57 - Mar 18

whosroundisitanyway added 18:57 - Mar 18
We're shlt & we know we are
we're shlt & we know we are
we're shlt & we know we are
we're shlt & we know we are!!!!
Best song I can come up with for the run in?
Feel very very sad.

martin587 added 18:59 - Mar 18
Sick to death of your arrogance.Just get lost.!!

blueboy1981 added 19:04 - Mar 18
....... he's never had a Plan B - and now it has to be said he doesn't know what he is talking about.

In other words his words are as deluded, as his tactics,and substitutions.

GO NOW - and put yourself, and us, out of all our misery.


Blue_Again added 19:06 - Mar 18
We will never surrender

ssmith added 19:08 - Mar 18
It pains me to say this as a life long town fan but we are the most negative side in the league with no regard to entertaining our long suffering fans and as so probably deserve to be relagated

Daleyitfc added 19:08 - Mar 18
Quote : The Town boss says it’s not easy to work out why form has fallen away after the promising displays in February.

“It’s more than frustrating, it’s bloody annoying,” he added. “Why have they not continued? It’s difficult to put your finger on it because we were playing particularly well, playing well with the 3-5-2. It wasn’t great last week and it wasn’t great today.”
: unquote

What changed was that you put Skuse back in the team, and reverted to a back 7. You clearly haven't spotted that ; but then you can't see much with your head up your own bottom.

Cakeman added 19:08 - Mar 18
MM is well is well past his sell by date but sadly our owner doesn't even make the shelf.
All in all very grim.

bluemike1969 added 19:11 - Mar 18
You are a useless cretin.
No more to be said

walberblue added 19:12 - Mar 18
What a drama queen? Its impossible to get relegated this year. More likely he's upset about his season bonus or the absence of one this season.
BTW its gonna be one hell of a job to find some reasons to explain the press release saying Bottom six Mick is staying for next year.

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