|Derby County 0 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Tuesday, 28th November 2017 Kick-off 19:45
McCarthy: A Big Win
Tuesday, 28th Nov 2017 23:02
Boss Mick McCarthy hailed the Blues’ 1-0 victory at Derby County as a “big win” and a “very pleasing performance” as both he and the club continued their remarkable records at Pride Park.
Town are unbeaten in 10 on Rams’ turf stretching back 11 years almost to the day, winning their last three 1-0, while McCarthy has never been defeated at Pride Park, his last loss on Derby territory having come with Millwall at the Baseball Ground back in March 1995.
“It was a big win,” the Blues boss. “I thought it was a really, good, disciplined, fighting, well-organised, stoic performance.
“I thought we were a threat in the first half, they’ve had how many passes and all the ball but it’s what you’re allowed to do with it, not what you do with it and I thought we nullified them for the most part and when they did get through we’ve had some really good last ditch tackles and Bart made a great save.
“It was a brilliant save. If there’s been a better keeper in the league for the last two seasons I haven’t seen him, certainly at keeping the ball out of his net, at stopping shots he’d fantastic.
“It was a very pleasing performance, it almost makes up for Sheffield Wednesday.”
Regarding the clean sheet, he added: “I said to the lads coming off, ‘What’s all that? A clean sheet?’ to the defenders. It wasn’t only the defenders, of course. They all worked very, very hard to ensure it didn’t go in the net.”
McCarthy was pleased to see one of Martyn Waghorn’s excellent set pieces lead to Callum Connolly’s goal, his first for the club: “We spoke about a bit of movement in the box and it’s nice when it works.”
The Town boss admitted he knew he had a good record at Derby even if he wasn’t aware of the specifics.
“I knew I’d got a pretty good one,” he added. “They should have employed me here a long time ago because my record here is better than it is at Portman Road! If it goes back that far, I should have been.
“I knew I had a good record here, we almost won promotion here, we ended up being six points clear with two games to go when I was at Wolves.
“How the hell we beat them that day was beyond me. I know how we beat them today, but that was just one of those performances.
“I wasn’t completely unaware but I don’t keep those kind of records, but I knew I’d had a decent run here.”
Quizzed on why he put on Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam in the second half rather than the more experienced Teddy Bishop, McCarthy responded: “I’m smiling because you said Teddy Bishop and all his experience. I think he’s 21 and he hasn’t played for two years, but I get what you’re saying.
“I was talking to TC and I was thinking Bish might give us something going forward, you can control the game.
“But it wasn’t that, it was a day for scurrying around and making tackles and Tristan and certainly Flynn are pretty good at that. That was what was required and that’s why they went on instead of Bish.”
Asked whether he felt it was a deserved win, he said: “It’s interesting, if it was a team in the Champions League which had gone away and played and scored and sat in and been disciplined, people would be waxing lyrical about it.
“We’ve done it and I guess it’s ‘Boring Mick’, it’s not quite as good as if somebody else did that.”
Does he believe defending is an underrated aspect of the game? “Winning’s never underrated, is it? However it’s achieved. It wasn’t lucky. We might have given the ball away at the end a couple of times and it could have gone another way.
“But you could say we were unlucky against Sheffield Wednesday, so maybe we got a little turn for the better tonight.
“It was a good performance by us and nobody can knock that. We frustrated the hell out of them, to be fair.”
Did he feel his team might have had a penalty when Waghorn was brought down in the second half? “They might have done as well. You know, my auntie and all that. But they weren’t [penalties].
“I think the referee - and they might disagree - was strong because you can give one when the home crowd is up and then we look at it afterwards and we all go, ‘It’s never a penalty’ and we’ve lost the game and it doesn’t matter then. So fair play to him, he stayed strong.”
The Blues are now three points off the top six, does McCarthy believe his side can get back into the play-off places? “If we can play like that, not like that every week, but if we can keep clean sheets, we’ve always got a threat in terms of goals.
“So maybe. But last Wednesday I’m chewing and Saturday having played particularly well in the first half and then lost 2-0, it doesn’t look like we’ve got any chance of being in the top six, so I’m not suddenly going to start waxing lyrical about us. We’ll just keep trying to pick up points and seeing where we end up.”
McCarthy says he’s hopeful Joe Garner will be fit to face his old club Nottingham Forest at the weekend having missed out tonight.
“He’s got a sore foot and we’ll see tomorrow,” the Blues boss continued. “We’re hopeful for Saturday.”
Town will be without both skipper Luke Chambers, a former Forest skipper, and Flynn Downes as they picked up their fifth bookings of the season.
Derby boss Gary Rowett felt his team might have got something from the match but that Town defended resolutely having taken the lead.
“I think that’s what’s going to happen sometimes," he reflected. "I think in the first five minutes, it was a little bit of a poor start from us in some ways, we’ve just got to start a little bit brighter, certainly defensively, and I felt we gave them one or two opportunities, particularly down their right, to put balls into the box or to get out down that side.
“We could have cleared our lines a couple of times for the goal and it ended up going out for a corner.
“You have to say it was a fantastic delivery, when a ball is whipped in that quickly it only needs a glance, the pace is already on the ball. I think that’s one of Waghorn’s strengths.
“And I think we’ve got to do our jobs defensively much better, but Connolly I think it was got across the front and should be marked. I don’t know who was marking him but he should be marked.
“I’m all for goal-line technology but I think tonight I would have preferred it without because I’m not sure that would have been given because it was so quick and you couldn’t tell where it was, it didn’t look like it had gone over.
“But the right thing happened in the end because of it so it probably shows it’s a good thing although it’s worked against us today.
“And what you saw then was a side basically sitting in and defending for 85 minutes. And they can, they’re 1-0 up away from home and they did that quite well.
“We had chances, we had opportunities. The goalkeeper’s made a couple of very, very good saves, one in particular from Tom Huddlestone which got a deflection and he’s diving and he actually had to change the course of his dive. It was a fantastic save.
“Whereas on Saturday all our finishes went in and all our finishes were great quality, sometimes you get an evening where you have chances and the finishing isn’t quite as good.
“But I couldn’t fault our effort, I couldn’t fault our determination to keep going. I think it was just one of those games where it was a case of ‘Can Ipswich see it out?’.
"At the end the keeper’s taking an age and that’s what you do away from home, that’s how you win games sometimes, it hasn’t got to be pretty all the time."
Rowett felt his team had two decent claims for spot-kicks in the second half: “I thought we had two very good penalty shouts. I didn’t think Tom’s was a penalty in the first half but we had two others, George Thorne’s for me was a definite penalty. I’m not complaining about it, just as an observation.
“Also I thought Matej Vydra got pushed towards the end when he ends up diving in and just doesn’t quite get on the end of it, I thought Jordan Spence just gave him a nudge.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes, we’ve been given some recently. I’m certainly not using that as an excuse or complaining.
“Disappointed we couldn’t find that little bit of quality you need on nights like this. Of course, you get the equaliser and then you go and put them under an awful lot of pressure, but it just wasn’t to be.”
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