‘I’m here for the next 14 games at least’ – McCarthy ready to block out the noise of his critics
PUBLISHED: 15:41 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:21 20 February 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Mick McCarthy shouted ‘f*** off’ in the direction of – but, he insists, not at – Ipswich Town fans after his side took the lead at Norwich on Sunday. Today the Blues boss, who has faced plenty of toxic chants over the last 12 months, was quizzed on the incident ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Cardiff.
Q: You felt it right to apologise in the aftermath for your celebration?
A: Of course, because people saw me swear on television.
It was at nobody but I was pumped up for the game, really pumped up. I said before the game I knew how much it means to the fans, I am quite aware of that, and I was desperate for a win and sad I didn’t get it.
Q: Were you worried when you saw how it had been interpreted? Your actions, your swearing?
A: Not really, no. People can interpret it however they want but, listen, I’ve jumped up and done that before. It was a real good moment. I thought we were going to win the game.
Q: Can a club be successful longer term when the manager and the supporters are so at odds? That does seem to be the situation here now.
A: Let’s hope so. I keep saying I’m just trying to do my job and we have Cardiff to play tomorrow night (at Portman Road).
I’ve had a great relationship with the fans, actually, for the most part and I think if we win tomorrow night we will be cheered off like they normally do.
Q: Can it get to the players (negative chants) there when they’re performing?
A: You would have to ask them but I don’t think so, actually. I think atmosphere does and I’ve said in the past that fans should come along and cheer the team because that’s why they come and support us and that’s what they do.
If we’ve won we get well supported and if we’ve lost, like any other team, we get the bird when you’re going off.
Q: Will your relationship with supporters have an impact on your decision in the summer?
A: I guess so but I’ve not given that too much thought I have to be honest. I always say I’d like to win tomorrow and then my relationship is a lot better.
Q: It’s very sad though, isn’t it, that there clearly is this issue at the moment?
A: I prefer it when the fans are supporting the team and if it’s me being here that is affecting that then that really is sad. But look, I’m here for the next 14 games at least – I’m at pains to say ‘at least’ – and I’m going to try and do as well as I can.
Q: You can fully focus on your job, almost have tunnel vision?
A: Oh yes, absolutely. I’ve been doing this a long time and have had ups and downs throughout my career and I do manage to focus on it. I’m just focussed on the Cardiff game.
Q: Do the fans need a good performance from your team? A rip-roaring one like from earlier on in the season like Sunderland or Forest?
A: It would help, wouldn’t it? They’d all feel better about it and we would as well. It’s not as if we haven’t been trying, we’d not planned to do anything different from earlier on in the season but there are two sides in it.
Maybe we were treated lightly in the first five games – we’d just lost 6-1 at Charlton and I don’t know if people thought we were a bunch of mugs. It turned out we weren’t because we won the first five.
The league has settled down and we are playing against a very good team tomorrow night. They are bedded in, they’ve taken a few good signings in and Neil (Warnock), who I’ve known for years, is a past master at it.
Q: It strikes me there might be some at Portman Road who don’t know who to hand stick to first tomorrow night, you or Neil.
A: Do you know what, I’m looking forward to the game. I’m looking forward to seeing Neil and I’m looking forward to a really good game and hope we play as well as we did on Sunday.
Q: Are you entitled, after all your years as a manager, to celebrate a goal however you want to?
A: Well, maybe not when people are watching it and the bad language I used. But when I jumped up I’m not thinking I’ve got the cameras on me because I’m not that bothered really.
Q: If you are getting stick, are you entitled to give them stick back? We’re all grown-ups in football, aren’t we?
A: I wasn’t giving them stick back.
Q: So that’s a misinterpretation because obviously there is the gesture with it as well.
A: No, no, you are misinterpreting it. I was pumped up and desperate to win, was delighted we’d scored and thought we’d got a win. You’ve seen what I’ve said and as far as I’m concerned it’s finished with.