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MANAGER’S REACTION: Upset over penalty decision, but McCarthy concedes that Watford were simply the better side

PUBLISHED: 22:51 19 February 2013 | UPDATED: 23:17 19 February 2013

Mick McCarthy leaves the pitch after watching his Town side lose 2-0 to Watford

Mick McCarthy leaves the pitch after watching his Town side lose 2-0 to Watford

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Ipswich v Watford: IPSWICH Town manager Mick McCarthy admits his side were outplayed in tonight’s 2-0 home defeat to Watford – but he has told his players not beat themselves up over the performance.

The high-flying Hornets played some sumptuous one-touch football, with Ikechi Anya and Nathaniel Chalobah finishing excellent team moves in each half.

It means that Gianfranco Zola’s side – who have now scored 38 goals on their travels this season – remain hot on the heels of the top two in the Championship, while the Blues are back to within three points of the drop zone.

“We were beaten by a very, very good side – as good as I’ve seen this season in the league,” said McCarthy.

“We probably did alright to keep it to the two. We had to work for everything. Sometimes you just have to hold your hand up and say you were beaten by the better team.

“We should have had a penalty (when Lee Martin was tripped in the box at 1-0). When you’re having a tough night you need those decisions and I can’t understand what he (the referee) saw, because he had a good view of it.

“If you’d have seen their bench gasp as he stuck his foot out and then let out a sigh of relief when it wasn’t given... It should have been given – but it wasn’t.

“I just thought they were good. It wasn’t about how we played – they’re just a good team.

“I’m not happy that we’ve been beaten – I’m chewing about it – but sometimes you do have to hold your hands up and say you’ve been beaten by a better side.

“We could have played better and done better, but is that because they handled us well? Probably, yes.”

With Town travelling to Huddersfield on Saturday, a side who were thrashed 6-1 by Nottingham Forest last night, McCarthy added: “The lads have been great. They’ve taken 31 points since November the first and I’ve just said to them don’t beat yourselves up about this one. We need another three or four wins and I think we’ve got the quality and the team spirit to get those.”

Fans have a big role to play in the “massive” East Anglian derby this weekend – and must cheer on the Blues all the way to victory.

Punters are tipping Ipswich Town to win Sunday’s hotly-anticipated derby clash with old rivals Norwich City.

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers says the new-look Blues squad should fear no-one in the Championship – and that includes Norwich this Sunday.

Respected Sky Sports pundit Danny Higginbotham insists cool heads will decide Sunday’s East Anglian Championship derby between Ipswich Town and Norwich City.

The Gunn family know all about the highs and lows that the East Anglian derby can provide and Angus is relishing the chance to follow in the footsteps of his father for Norwich this Sunday.

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers issued a rallying call to his team-mates ahead of Sunday’s derby clash with Norwich City telling them “now is the time to stand-up and be counted.”

Ipswich Town legend and former England captain Terry Butcher has paid tribute to his son Christopher’s “larger than life character” and described him as a “formidable and true friend” following the 35-year-old’s death.

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers has hit back at Nelson Oliveira’s claim that Norwich City are a ‘better club’ with ‘better players’ by calling the City striker ‘not very well educated’.

The fit-and-firing David McGoldrick is the Ipswich Town player that Norwich City fans would most like to have in the Canary ranks in Sunday’s East Anglian derby.

Former Ipswich Town star Marcus Stewart says players have to put themselves “in the shoes of the fans” on derby day.

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