McCarthy: It Was Our Day Today
Saturday, 4th Nov 2017 18:48
Town boss Mick McCarthy felt the first goal was key as his side battled their way through the first half before putting in a more entertaining performance after the break to claim a 3-0 victory over Preston North End at Portman Road.
Asked whether it was a game of two halves, McCarthy said: “Yes, because there was some entertainment in the second half. But it was what was required.
“There are all sorts of ways to win a football match. I’ve been in the Championship long enough to know there’s a team coming to play against us that’s going to be pretty tough and resolute and that’s what we were going to have to be and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“And the one bit of quality in the first half was the move before the goal. But if you want to start a game like that and think we’re going to be a nice football team, you suddenly get your arses kicked and they’d be on the front foot and they’d be doing it.
“So, having nicked it, it was a really good move. Waggy wins the freekick and he dispatches it nicely.
“In the second half we’ve started well and it always looks better when you’ve scored three goals. If it had ended up 0-0 they’d have booed the s—- out of me, so everybody’s happy.”
Waghorn’s freekick, his eighth goal of the season, followed Celina’s similar set piece at Burton last week, but McCarthy felt both keepers ought to have done better.
“I think I’d have saved them both,” he insisted. “I’m not kidding either! I don’t give a monkey’s about that.
“I’m complaining about us making mistakes on Tuesday night and it ends up in our net. For all Bersant’s was a decent strike last week, if Bart had let it in I’d have been fuming.
“And if Bart had moved four yards and let the other one in today, I’d have been even more fuming.
“But I don’t think we get too many breaks and much luck, we’ve earned that bit and it was our day today.”
The Blues boss was more impressed with Celina’s second-half goal, his sixth of the season and his third in three games.
Like Tom Lawrence last season, the Kosovo international appears to be holding his own goal of the season competition.
“I don’t think his freekick will be in that,” McCarthy added. “As important as it was and how valuable it was and how much it meant to me and to us, I don’t think that’s going to get the goal of the season, or Waggy’s.
“But the third one today was fabulous. He’s been terrific, he really has. But as for all the furore about him, he’s had to learn my ways, what I expect of him and, to be fair to him, he’s done it, he works very hard, he’s great.
“He’s extremely fit, a great athlete. But even at 3-0 we got a chance to break and he ended up giving it away twice and they ended up breaking on us and I’m pulling my hair out because he’s been brilliant. But if I stop doing that, nail the lid down.”
He added: “I can’t teach Bersant much about skills, tricks and dribbling. But City sent him here to learn about discipline and working hard – and without that he won’t be a player.”
The Town boss says the first goal is important in the Championship: “It makes us all feel better and gives you a bit of momentum. In any league it’s important.”
He says Waghorn’s strike didn’t make a huge difference to his team-talk: “No, it would have been much the same. All it was that I had a better ‘well done’ to say because it was a proper scrap.
“Adam Webster, that was the best game for me that. He was different class, he was playing against a really good, big handful [Jordan Hugill] and it was nice to see him on his arse and not Adam, although he was a few times. But he got up and he kept challenging.
“And it wasn’t for his silky running out with the ball, it was for that clean sheet. He was different class.”
McCarthy received criticism from some sections of the support for making six changes at Cardiff in midweek. Does he feel vindicated following today’s result and performance?
“I just avoided swearing there! What would have come after I don’t give a?” he joked. “Yeah, I saw Alex Neil say something about how he went down and he shouldn’t have gone. Well, is it my job to get results?
“And I tell you what was important as well, having had the Burton result, we could have got beaten at Cardiff whatever team we put out.
“And you know what have happened then? They’d all have come back here and got in a quarter to four in the morning and we’d have lost and they’d have been playing here in a ‘must-win’.
“I’ve got a squad of probably 19 players, it’s my job to pick and choose and we weren’t that bad at Cardiff. We just gave a lousy goal away after half-time, we were in the game in the first half.
“So, I’ve explained it better than I was going to when you first asked, and I hope that is sufficient.”
Regarding Cole Skuse, who went off injured in the first half, he said: “Skusey’s got his leg in a brace, it always looks worse. We’ll assess it tomorrow. [Physio] Matt Byard will assess it and find out.
“Kevin Bru’s been great, he certainly wasn’t going to play a full game today, not having played a full game on Tuesday night.
“I thought Callum Connolly was different class, to be quite honest. He’s had to go and play in midfield, not had to, I knew he could do it.
“Kevin’s been excellent, I can’t really express my thoughts any more than I did on Tuesday night about how professional he’s been. Very good.”
McCarthy admits that Skuse and Connolly wasn’t a midfield pairing he expected to be playing.
“I think it shows the commitment of the players to actually go and play in there,” he continued. “‘Cal, fancy that?’, ‘No problem, I’ll go and play’. You all know that wouldn’t have been the midfield pairing, but it worked anyway.”
Preston manager Alex Neil felt Town’s opening goal came during his team’s best period of the match.
“Disappointing, the first half it was a scrappy game really,” he said. “They got a freekick from which they led after probably our best part of the game. I thought we had a five or 10-minute spell where they put four or five crosses into the box and looked threatening.
“I don’t think they’d had a shot at our goal up until that stage. Whether it was a freekick or not I’m not sure, but I think [keeper Chris Maxwell] gambles to go over to the side of the wall and the lad Waghorn puts it in the far corner.
“I think from that point it was really disappointing going in at half-time 1-0 down because I didn’t think there was anything in the match, I thought it was really scrappy until that point.
“And then in the second half, we came out and one cross comes into the box, it was a bad header at the back post and it ends up 2-0.
“At that point you’re chasing the game. We can kid ourselves that after that that we played well, but we didn’t. We kept the ball because they allowed us to but didn’t really have too much in the way of chances afterwards.
“The fact is I’ll take full responsibility, I picked the team. My biggest disappointment is for the Preston fans who travelled down so far to watch that because it certainly wasn’t good enough.”
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