McCarthy: Second Goal a Killer Blow
Saturday, 3rd Feb 2018 18:21
Boss Mick McCarthy felt Town’s second goal, netted by Sunderland defender Adam Matthews in first-half injury time, was the crucial moment in the 2-0 victory over the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light, the Blues' first win at the Wearsiders’ current ground.
“A very decent away performance? Yes, just print that, that’ll be fine. I am delighted with it,” McCarthy reflected on the win, Town’s first away from home of 2018.
“My assessment of it is that we had to weather a real storm for 20 minutes, it might have been longer.
“I thought they were excellent without putting the ball in the net for 20 minutes. I had to change the way we were playing a bit and put Skusey on their 53 [Ovie Ejaria] and stop him having a field day.
“And put Waggy and Callum on the other two. I was trying to leave the front three up and it wasn’t working, so we had to drop them back in and be a bit more solid.
“And when we did I thought we frustrated them, they couldn’t play through us and we started to break on them and got into the game.
“Joe Garner got an absolutely magnificent goal, it was a fabulous goal and the two wide players [Freddie Sears and Grant Ward] who came in combined for the second.
“I was trying to give it to Freddie but apparently the special goals panel has sat and they’ve told me it’s an own goal.
“But nevertheless he was there, he was in trying to put it in. I thought him and Wardy were great having come into the game.
“They’ve had a lot of the ball in the second half but I don’t think Bart has really made any saves, to be honest.”
Regarding the timing of the second goal moments from the end of the first period, he added: “I could see [Sunderland manager] Chris Coleman’s reaction to it, I was stood next to him.
“He probably had a plan in his head about what they could do and had to change it or carry on. They could rally the troops because they’d done alright, but that was a killer blow for everybody.”
McCarthy, who was manager of Sunderland, who are second bottom of the Championship, between 2003 and 2006, says that although he still has strong feelings for the club, sentiment goes out the window on a matchday.
“I have got no sympathy for anybody I play against or my teams play against, I never did,” he said.
“Whether that’s Barnsley or… I wouldn’t have to give Man City any sympathy would I really? Millwall or any of them.
“We’re all professionals and we all want to win for our own teams. I’m sad to see the plight that the club is in, but I know how hard it is to turn around when it’s going that way. It’s like having an oil tanker and a canoe paddle to turn it around.”
Regarding his team selection with Sears and Ward coming into the team and Bersant Celina on the bench, he added: “Good, wasn’t it? What are you going to ask me next? ‘Why didn’t you play Santie?’, I’ve just been asked that one.
“Wardy, he just gives us pace, [he and Sears] give us pace, they give us thrust, they want to run forward, they can run off Joe.
“I thought Freddie does that and he stretches teams so he can play. And it was fresh legs in the team.”
He says the players celebrating the second goal with Sears - who is without a goal in 30 first-team matches since scoring against Newcastle on April 17th, 292 days ago - in order to try to make it look like his, illustrates the closeness of his players.
“I think that just shows the level of team spirit that’s in our squad,” he said. “The level of camaraderie that’s there. They’re a great bunch, they are fantastic lads, it’s nice to see that.”
Sears played and scored for the U23s on Monday as they beat Millwall 5-0 at Playford Road, something McCarthy says he didn’t tell the former West Ham man he would be doing until the day of the game.
“They all played in the U23s on Monday and so often U23s managers would bemoan the fact that I’m putting first-team players in to have a game.
“With Freddie, I didn’t phone him on the Sunday to tell him he was playing in the U23s because I didn’t want to piss his Sunday and his Monday off and I thought I’d wait and tell him on Monday when he came in for training.
“And I did piss him off, I have to be honest, he wasn’t happy. But then he went, ‘Alright Gaffer’. And he went and did it properly. You might think, ‘They they should do it properly’. But you’ve all watched U23s games and first-teamers don’t do it properly.
“But Webbo did, Wardy did, Luke Hyam did and they won the game. It’s testament to them that they’ve kept their heads up and they keep doing it and then they can play like that. That’s because they do it right.”
Regarding man of the match Ward, he said: “We saw on his debut what a talented individual we thought he was when he came on and scored a hat-trick and he’s been a really good player for us. It’s great to see him back because he certainly gives us something, something different others can’t.”
Garner appeared to run to celebrate with McCarthy after scoring his goal before passing his boss and taking a swig on a bottle.
“I never, ever thought he was coming to me,” McCarthy continued. “I don’t get caught in that trap, putting my hand out and they run past me. Forget that one!
“He said he needed a drink. So do I, I haven’t had one since New Year’s Eve, by the way. If I get home I might have one.”
Sunderland manager Chris Coleman was fuming about the second goal and felt his team ought to have had a penalty when Jonas Knudsen appeared to handle George Honeyman’s second-half cross.
“In the first half an hour, I didn’t have a complaint,” the former Wales boss said. “Good vibe, good stuff, should have gone 1-0 up.
"But the all important first goal, we don’t recover from. But it’s the second goal again, seconds before half-time, that’s incredible. For us to concede again like that was [incredible].And that knocks the life out of you, of course it does.
“Again, in the second half we tried, we looked naive in certain situations. If you look at Ipswich, they’ve got a lot of boys there that know the division and they’re streetwise. Sometimes we’re naive.
“But with 25 minutes to go it was a penalty, it’s got to be a penalty. I’m not saying that’s why we lost the game, but make the decision.
“It was handball. If he was two or three yards away he can’t get his hand out of the way, but he’s 10 or 15 yards away. Handball, it’s a penalty. Whether we score it or not doesn’t matter, it’s a penalty and we don’t get that.”
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