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McCarthy: Win Was Culmination of Week of Good Performances
Saturday, 24th Feb 2018 18:37

Town boss Mick McCarthy felt the Blues’ impressive away win against Preston was a culmination of a week of good performances.

The Blues were denied a 1-0 derby victory at Norwich by a last-gasp equaliser last Sunday before losing 1-0 to second-placed Cardiff in a tight game at Portman Road on Wednesday.

“I think that’s the culmination of a really good week of performances at Norwich and certainly against Cardiff, and today I think we’ve got what we deserved, we got three points,” McCarthy said. “We should have been more than one up at half-time.”

Town could have been three or four goals in front at the break against a Preston side which normally gives away few chances.

However, after goalscorer and man of the first half Mustapha Carayol was subbed for Luke Hyam at half-time the Blues showed different qualities after the break as they saw out the second half very comfortably to claim the three points.

“It’s the Championship and it’s required,” McCarthy added. “I’ve never been anywhere yet where being tough and able to withstand a bit of pressure has not been needed.”"

Town were always a threat on the counter-attack in the first half with full debutant Carayol the star performer.

“I was delighted getting Muzzy and I think he’s shown today what he’s capable of, although I never thought for one minute he’d play the whole game having had diarrhoea and sickness in the week,” the Blues boss continued.

“I think we would have got another 15 minutes out of him, but he’d run his race and they’d changed it before half-time, stuck Harrop on in the midfield. It was a tactical one as much as a physical one.”

Did Carayol want to be replaced at half-time? “He didn’t want to come off but I thought he’d run his race. I said to him, ‘Muzzy, how are you?’ and he said, ‘I’m OK’ and OK’s not, ‘I’m brilliant, gaffer, don’t take me off’.

“So I said to him, he used the wrong terminology to me, and he was coming off anyway.”

Explaining his decision to put on the more defensive Hyam rather than another attacking player, he said: “I knew doing that we might lose a bit of the threat that we had up front but we were 1-0 up and I wasn’t going to allow them to get Harrop on the ball in behind their front players and them cause us [problems]. Just tactical and it worked.

“Thankfully it worked because when it doesn’t work we get grief for not putting a fast one on up front.”

Preston manager Alex Neil swapped his full-backs and then made a double tactical substitution seven minutes before the break to try to counteract the Blues’ threat on the break.

“I don’t need them to do that to convince me I’m doing things right,” McCarthy continued. “Maybe we caused them a problem. I thought we caused Cardiff a problem on Wednesday, they were changing things.

“The lads have played well, I think it’s a credit to them, they’ve adapted to the way we’ve played and played well in that system.”

He added: “We had a different front three today and they’ve all worked really hard. I thought Muzzy was outstanding and we should have had more. We had two really good chances and then Dominic hit the cross bar.

“I could see the second half coming, I could just see, ‘1-0 up and messed it up’ coming. Anyway, it didn’t, we defended really well.”

He admitted repeating conceding the late goal at Norwich did prey on his mind towards the end: “I wasn’t fearing it, I didn’t want it to happen again because it has a really devastating effect if it happens again.

“But it never looked like it, to be honest. They had a header and the lads said the ball was out, but I didn’t see whether it was, and that was about it. I don’t think they had anything on our goal at all, not really. Corners and freekicks in the first half, they were good at that.”

McCarthy was pleased with his back three: “They’ve been very good. Cameron Carter-Vickers played it at Sheffield United and Chambo organises them really well.

“It’s been three good performances. We should have had three points at Norwich and I think we were done by a dodgy old decision in midweek and today we’ve played well and won.”

The Blues manager is delighted to see Adam Webster playing regularly again after the injury problems which have hampered him during both his seasons at Portman Road but says the former Pompey man is behind Carter-Vickers in the pecking order.

“If I play three at the back Adam’s in the team, if not Cameron Carter-Vickers has been excellent and deserves to be playing,” he said.

“It does give us height at the back that we can then deal with corners and freekicks against anybody and then it gives me a licence to play whatever I want up front, we can be a bit quicker, a bit more mobile and more of a threat.”

McCarthy has been impressed by Carter-Vickers’s physical strength, specifically citing one second-half incident.

“I was laughing when he was trying to usher the ball out in the far corner and the lad, whoever it was, tried to push him,” he said. “It was like trying to push a pick-up truck. He’s a big, powerful man.”

The result was only Preston’s second defeat in the league since they were beaten in Suffolk in November, the Blues recording their second double of the campaign and their first against Preston since since 1965/66.

“I think they’ve lost one since we beat them at Portman Road,” McCarthy reflected. “They’ve been excellent, but we’ve played well today, we deserved to win that today.”

Does the win mean Town are back in the play-off hunt? “No, I don’t think so. I wrote that one off. What are we, six points behind now? I did say I think it was over, but I didn’t say we’d stop fighting for it.”

Preston boss Alex Neil felt his team never really got into gear throughout the 90 minutes.

"I don't think we played anywhere near the levels we can, it was flat and we never got going," he said.

"Probably that was down to how much we have demanded of the players, how our games have ended up panning out - we have had three really tough fixtures with Brentford, Wolves and Aston Villa.

"We took a lot out of ourselves in those three games, for two of them we played with 10 men for 20 minutes and then 35 minutes."

He added: "I tried a few things to get them going, I was really dissatisfied at half-time as you could imagine.

"To be fair you could see the players were disappointed, they wanted to play well today but they didn't have the energy.

"I probably changed systems more today than I had ever done as a manager which to be honest that is not something I'm not overly comfortable with and don't do generally.

"I believe that if you set up a way of playing, you should be good enough to play that way and beat them.

"But it didn't think we were going to create anything, I had to do something to spark something into the team and if I'm being honest it didn't work."

Regarding his 38th-minute double tactical switch, he explained: "We got a warning with Carayol down that left-hand side, he should have scored on two different occasions and I could see the goal coming.

"Calum Woods made an error for the goal and he didn't look he was up to the speed of the game really.

"Likewise with Callum Robinson at the top end of the pitch, he looked fatigued as well and a yard off things.

"I thought we needed some fresh blood in the team but being honest, it didn't make any difference."

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Blue_Again added 18:39 - Feb 24
Worried this will give Evans reason to give MM a new contract. As much as a victory is very welcome

jocasaja added 18:45 - Feb 24
I agree that it was a week of FIRST HALF good performances, but I don't know why we should always go into our shells in the second half of these matches.??

RamRob added 18:46 - Feb 24
You can just celebrate the win today and get back to worrying tomorrow...

Umros added 18:52 - Feb 24
Each to their own.

I'd have said mind numbing, bang average games won 1 drawn 1 lost 1. 2 for 2 against. Thrilling.

LWNR2013 added 19:02 - Feb 24
Win one, lose one, draw one .. repeat in any order. That's been constant all season = SAFE.

BORING but safe .. week in week out, year in year out. Til the end of time?

yungblue added 19:02 - Feb 24
Week of first half good performances. But the equal amount of time during that week has it been scrappy, ugly, aimless hoof ball. So do agree to a certain aspect.

Don't even think winning every game would persuade me MM deserves another 2/3 years here. Overall the last 2 years have been torrid, truely torrid to watch. Topped by a unrepairable toxic relationship between fans and manager. That shouldn't be forgotten come May.

boroughblue added 19:06 - Feb 24
Know nothing about what happened in today's game as I've been busy. Although its sounds like we played pretty well. Also get the impression that MM wanted to sit on the 1-0 after HT rather then push for more. Got the result still so I won't complain. Would be nice to really but teams to the sword more often though. Didn't see the cardiff game or todays game, but jocasaja does make a point. We did sort of shy away in the second half against Norwich. Not necessarily down to MM though.

All in all the good result, although hard to be really excited when its the end of February and all we are fighting for is to finish above nodge. sad times

bluesman added 19:08 - Feb 24
Congratulations to Magic Mick and the Budget Blues. Blue Again, try worrying that results like this will lead Mr E to believe he can keep the team in the Championship on a minus £2m a year budget without MMs astute management. Lets get some reality on here.

ivandeighton added 19:13 - Feb 24
How can we be out of the play offs when we are only six points off the play offs

BillyBaxterwasbest added 19:20 - Feb 24
Well done MM good tactical game.

IpswichToon added 19:20 - Feb 24
We've got a great opportunity now to win back-to-back games! I'm excited for the next game for once!!

1966 added 19:33 - Feb 24
Typical Alex Neil , Gives us No Credit At All !!

BloomBlue added 19:46 - Feb 24
ME should give MM a 2 year contract NOW

rfretwell added 20:08 - Feb 24
Excellent result. Now can Muzzy ger fully match fit and continue his first half form? Great to have that pace up front. Good acquisition again Mick.

ArnieM added 20:16 - Feb 24
Well done Mick, however I'm still not convinced you should be staying next season.

NickRaw added 20:20 - Feb 24
Great result - delighted for MM - he is a top manager and doesn't deserve the stick he gets from a small minority of noisy fans. The problem is the owner, not the manager.

blues1 added 20:38 - Feb 24
NickRaw. Are you McCarthy in disguise. "A small minority of noisy fans". 80% more like. Already lost 6000 fans since he came here and that's likely to rise by another 2000 if he still here next year. Wake up and smell the coffee. Whether for him or against him surely fans can see his position is untenable.

NoelTheDub added 20:38 - Feb 24
Mick your tactical defensive substitution today just about worked it didn't last week.Its in your make up when 1 0 up to shut up shop when clearly us with Celina replacing Carayol would have been a better option and keep up the way we played in the first half you invited unnecessary pressure and got away with it for once..

dhunt27 added 20:38 - Feb 24
As said previously I dont think we have ever been as good away from home under another manager credit to Mccarthy a shame Evans won't give him the money needed to sign players like vickers and connelly permantly and striker from lower league, if we are to get rid of Mccarthy I think we need an executive who is proven to source cheap/good players or stick with Mccarthy who already has the backroom staff who have a good eye for a signing.

baxter7 added 20:45 - Feb 24
Do you see what happens when you play a attacking side mcarthy we win do it more often and you might get a few more of the 70 per cent who don't want you here to back you


TimmyH added 20:52 - Feb 24
A 'week of good performances' under a Burley or Robson regime would have meant probably a 1-0, 3-1 and 2-2 (maybe away) but under you Mick it means 1 goal either way or a draw over 3 the bar is slowly and slowly being lowered at this club.

Good performances generally are met by points but not under your management.

rollercoastertown added 20:58 - Feb 24
Great Managerial decisions produce great performances and results. Hurry up and get that contract signed Mick.

poldark added 21:36 - Feb 24
I for one despise McCarthy and I'm not alone ask the 5000 that have left since he arrived so I'm not alone and next season if he stays will see even more leave ITFC will be lucky to get 8000 season ticket sales he is a delusional moron and should be sacked

TimmyH added 21:41 - Feb 24
By the gods! - Chris Ilewumo on Channel 5 football programme on McCarthy and his situation at Town currently "be careful what you wish for" and "he's getting results" how more many times do we have to hear this? and if he was getting us 'results' why are we 13th? and yes folks an ex-player under him at Wolves! so no impartiality there then.

Sounds like he's staying if Marcus was happy with him to sign an 2 more years of this!!!!!!

blue75 added 21:49 - Feb 24
So another good half that's 3 in a row only won 1 I'd it was bad luck for the previous 2 was today just down to luck? Seems to me we play roughly the same most weeks stop the opposition playing hopefully control it nick a goal and try not to concede and if we do make sure it's only 1. If only Mick's tactics were as entertaining as his personality!!!

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