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‘I’m a better manager when I’ve got better players’: McCarthy on his improved Town squad

PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 December 2017

Ipswich hosted Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day 2015, with captain Luke Chambers scoring a dramatic late winner.  Picture: STEVE WALLER

Ipswich hosted Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day 2015, with captain Luke Chambers scoring a dramatic late winner. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Mick McCarthy will be hoping his Ipswich Town side put in another impressive display against Queens Park Rangers today to bring some festive cheer to Portman Road.

Bersant Celina scored in the defeat by QPR in September. Picture: PAGEPIX Bersant Celina scored in the defeat by QPR in September. Picture: PAGEPIX

The Blues have won seven of their 11 Championship home games so far this season, heading into the clash with Ian Holloway’s side, with the entertainment value at Portman Road considerably higher than during much of a highly-forgettable 2016/17 season.

But when asked if a more attractive playing style was down to a conscious decision, McCarthy rejected suggestions a conservative approach was the root of last season’s struggles, insisting the improvement is simply down to having better players at his disposal.

“There was some bonkers stuff last year, levelled at me as well,” McCarthy said.

“I’m not having it that all of a sudden I’d become this turgid, horrible coach who doesn’t like scoring goals or playing entertaining football when I’ve won the Championship twice and scored as many goals with flying wingers.

Town will be hoping Jonas Knudsen is able to return from illness to face QPR.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM Town will be hoping Jonas Knudsen is able to return from illness to face QPR. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

“We’ve got better players and my old chairman Mr Burr (Reg Burr, Millwall) used to say to me about his superstitions. Do they work? They work better with a good team than they do with a bad team.

“Generally I’m a better manager with a good team than a bad team and I’ve got better players.

“The two lads from Rangers, Waggy and Joe (Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner), have made an immeasurable difference and Bersant (Celina), since getting in the team, has made a huge difference.

“Ask any coach, any manager, the better players he’s got the better manager he is.”

Mick McCarthy has won four of his five Boxing Day games as Ipswich Town boss, including this one at Doncaster in 2013. Picture: PAGEPIX Mick McCarthy has won four of his five Boxing Day games as Ipswich Town boss, including this one at Doncaster in 2013. Picture: PAGEPIX

But despite the improvements, attendances at Portman Road continue to slide with the victory over Reading watched by just 13,832 - the lowest home crowd for 19 years.

McCarthy, though, believes he and his side can do no more than they currently are as they bid to win fans back.

He said: “We’ve won seven of our last 11 at home and I think they’ve been good performances, exciting games and they’ve not been horrible, scrappy 1-0s.

“I think we’ve been worth watching this season and I can’t do anything other than that and neither can the lads. Maybe some of them got sick of it last year but it’s their team, their club and if they want to support it they do and if they don’t, they don’t.

“Hopefully we can keep playing well, keep winning games and win them all back.”

Opposition lowdown

Team name: Queens Park Rangers

Nickname: Hoops, Rs

Manager: Ian Holloway (Nov ‘16: P55 W17 D10 L28

Last five finishes: 18th, 12th (Champ), 20th

(Prem), 4th (Champ), 20th (Prem)

Current position: 18th

Recent form: DWLLDLLLWW

Away form: P11 W1 D4 L6 F9 A 19

Last game: Drew 1-1 v Bristol City (h)

Top scorers: Smith (5), Washington, Sylla, Mackie (4)

Most assists: Wszolek (3)

Last meeting: QPR 2-1 Ipswich Town - Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mick McCarthy admitted his side deserved nothing from their visit to Loftus Road earlier this season. Jamie Mackie and Luke Freeman scored the goals which ultimately meant Bersant Celina’s stunning late strike was little more than a consolation.

Andy’s prediction: Ipswich Town 2-0 Reading -

Town to flex their home muscles against bad-traveling Rangers

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