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MANAGER’S REACTION: Mick McCarthy happy that unbeaten home run still in tact after below-par performance against Bristol City

PUBLISHED: 18:19 22 December 2012

Ipswich v Bristol City: IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy admits his side were below-par in a scrappy 1-1 home draw with Bristol City.

The Blues fell behind to an 11th minute Neil Danns goal and the damage could easily have been greater before Tommy Smith’s expert finish drew the hosts level against the run of play soon after the half hour.

Town did improve slightly after the restart but there was little inspiration or quality in their attacking play as the match petered out into an instantly forgettable draw.

The Blues have slipped back to within three points of the Championship relegation zone, with just five points separating the bottom five.

“We haven’t played particularly well,” admitted McCarthy. “I think they did play well and I should congratulate them. We maybe struggled with their shape a little bit (5-4-1) and I was glad to get in a one-each at half-time to be honest.

“Our performance was nowhere near the last two at home (Nottingham Forest and Millwall wins), but it would be lovely to go from being bottom-of-the-league to being brilliant every week wouldn’t it? It’s not going to happen, it was never going to happen.

“These are the hardest games, funnily enough. You’re both playing for the same thing, expectation is higher against the teams around us. Seeing the results again today shows you this league is bonkers.”

He continued: “I’ve never said anything other than that it will be a bitter scrap until the end. That’s the way it will be.

“The two teams played their part in reducing the quality of the game today. I thought they played well first half, while second half we got to grips with it and got some opportunities that we could have done better with.

“That’s the difference between the teams that finish in the top six and the ones that finish in the bottom half. They put the ball in the net.

“I didn’t think it was happening for us up front today, I tried to freshen it up (replacing DJ Campbell and Daryl Murphy with Michael Chopra and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas) and, as it happens, that didn’t work for us either.”

Still unbeaten in five matches at Portman Road, McCarthy added: “The positive is that we took a point from a game that we could have lost. We’ve not been beaten twice on the bounce – which we could have been – and didn’t crumble when we could have.”

– Analysis, comment and more reaction in Monday’s EADT.

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