Christophe Berra’s not to blame for play-off defeat insists Ipswich Town skipper

Championship playoff 2nd leg
Norwich City v Ipswich Town - Carrow Road, Norwich - 16 May 2015

Championship playoff 2nd leg Norwich City v Ipswich Town - Carrow Road, Norwich - 16 May 2015 Ipswich Town's Christophe Berra (3rd left) is sent off for handling the ball off the line - Credit: Ashley Pickering

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers issued a defiant defence of team-mate Christophe Berra after the Scottish defender was dismissed in Saturday’s 3-1 play-off defeat at Norwich City.

Drawing 1-1 from the first leg, the balance of power shifted towards the Canaries at Carrow Road, early in the second half, following Berra’s red card for handling Nathan Redmond’s goalbound shot on the line.

Wes Hoolahan scored the resultant penalty to put the Norfolk side ahead on aggregate and although Tommy Smith levelled for the Blues, Town succumbed to further strikes from Redmond and Cameron Jerome as the hosts took control.

A 4-2 aggregate defeat meant Ipswich missed out on a trip to Wembley and a game against Middlesbrough on May 25, but Chambers insists the dressing room remains behind Berra.

“Christophe Berra has been an absolute rock this season, what can you say to him? It’s not his fault,” said Chambers.

“It’s (the handball) an instinct thing, he hasn’t thrown his hand out to save it like a goalie. The lad (Redmond) has had a bit of quality, he’s cut inside and tried to bend the ball in the corner.

“In hindsight you would say ‘let it in’ but who knows what you would do in that position? We’ll never blame Christophe because he has been fantastic for us all season.”

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While defending Berra, Chambers did admit the sending off changed the game, but also believed Teddy Bishop should have won a first half penalty after going down under a challenge from Redmond.

“The (Berra) penalty and red card changed the game and it was always going to be an uphill battle after that,” Chambers added.

“I was in the penalty box (for the Bishop incident) and I thought it should have been a penalty. Things like that change or break your fortunes and although I have not seen it back on TV, I thought it was a good shout from our point-of-view.”

The Blues squad will meet up today for an end-of-season de-brief, ahead of an important summer which will see manager Mick McCarthy make decisions on a number of out-of-contract players, including Paul Anderson, Noel and Stephen Hunt and Jay Tabb.

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