McCarthy: We Were First to Blink
Saturday, 14th Oct 2017 18:39
Boss Mick McCarthy felt the Blues were the ones to blink and concede “a very poor goal” after Town’s 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United. Chris Basham headed home the winner in the 49th minute.
“I’m pretty annoyed we’ve lost the game,” McCarthy said. “I thought they started well, I thought we grew into it and it’s a very good goal from them, but it was a very poor goal for us to concede right from start to finish.
“Right from them getting out at the back, somebody running on one of ours and then getting a cross in and not defending the far post. Little mistakes all over and it ends up in the back of the net.”
He admitted his team started slowly: “I had to change the way we were playing, they were having too much of the ball and when we changed to 4-3-3 [after around half an hour] we stemmed the tide coming our way somewhat and I thought we had some chances then. It’s fine margins and we’ve blinked unfortunately and they’ve got the goal.”
Town have now lost five of their last seven in the Championship. Asked whether a run like that requires him to dig deep, McCarthy said: “I pretty much have to dig deep every week, whether it’s going good, bad or indifferent. No, I’m well able to handle that.”
The Town manager expects the Blades to be among the play-off contenders come May and doesn’t see anyone dominating the division this season.
“I don’t think there’s going to be anyone like Newcastle or Brighton, I don’t see that, I’ve said that publicly before,” he reflected.
“But I do think Sheffield United are a good side and I think they’ll be up in the top six, I don’t think they’re going to fall away.
"They’ve got momentum, they’ve got a good way of playing, they all look to be working very hard for each other, I think they’re a good team.”
The Town boss is hopeful striker Joe Garner, who missed out with a knee injury, will be fit enough to for next Sunday’s East Anglian derby against Norwich.
“I’ll see on Monday,” he said. “Hopefully there’s no swelling on Monday and he can crack on with training and he’ll be all right for Sunday but I don’t know yet.
“He’s a big loss, he’s been fantastic, he’s been a been different class for us. [We’ve not got a like-for-like replacement], they don’t come around too often.
“But I thought Waggy was different class, by the way. I thought he played really, really well. Whether he was wide or up front I thought he was excellent.”
McCarthy confirmed that David McGoldrick’s substitution in the second half was purely tactical: “He’d been away with Ireland and he’d been back since Sunday. I just thought we needed fresh legs and I thought Freddie Sears was great when he came on, he stretched them and gave us something different.
“If you keep doing the same thing and it’s not working, that’s a real definition of madness.”
The result continued Town’s early season trend of beating sides towards the bottom of the division but coming up short against teams nearer the top.
“Yes, and we end up beating all the bottom 10 teams and we finish above them all I’ll be thrilled with that,” he added with the Blues now in mid-table in 10th.
“Yes, we’ve got to get a result against one of the better sides, one of the top teams and next week would be a good starting point, wouldn’t it?
He added: “I reckon if you beat the bottom 10 teams twice around you’ve made a good start, you’ve picked something up. We’re never going to beat them all, of course we’re not, but it gives you a solid base.
“But we’ve got to start picking up points from teams above. I’m not trying to give everybody a read on where I think we’re at.
“I think we’ve had some really good performances. I don’t think that today was a bad performance, I don’t think Leeds was. I don’t think Bristol City was, we had two deflected goals.
“Nevertheless, they’re teams above us and they’ve still beaten us. We have to find a way of getting results against them.
‘We’re going to be tested in the games coming up. We’ll soon find out whether we’re going to [be up to that]."
Just as he wasn't getting carried away after the 5-2 victory over Sunderland, he says he remains similarly grounded in defeat.
“I’ve said before, despite people not particularly liking my pragmatism and my realism, I’m very self-aware of what I am and how I do and what the team is and the teams that I’ve got and how we play. But I’ll keep it to myself.”
Looking ahead to next Sunday’s derby, he added: “A great game. We’ve lost one away and then we’ve got a huge game coming up. It should be exciting for everybody. It’ll be great if we win, it’ll be bloody horrible if we lose."
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder was pleased with both his team's display and their victory.
“I’m delighted," he said. "We had to marry up a good performance with a good result because we didn’t do that last time out at Nottingham Forest, so it was important that we got our rewards for a decent, solid display.
“Especially in the first half I thought we were really good and you have to accept that when you’re in the Championship teams are going to come roaring back at you. And to keep a clean sheet with the players that they’ve got at the top of the pitch is very pleasing.”
The Blades are second but Wilder isn't getting carried away: “Just another 26 points to go and we’ll be all right!"
Is that really how he's looking at things? "It should be the expectation for the supporters, because we’ve been out of the division for six years, so to stay in the division would be good.
“We’ll set our own targets along the way. My target is always win the next game and after the Forest game it was prepare ourselves and make sure we get the maximum out of the break and go again.”
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