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Leeds United 3 Ipswich Town 2 reaction: Mick McCarthy hails Blues’ display, claiming table-toppers ‘dodged a bullet’

PUBLISHED: 18:10 23 September 2017 | UPDATED: 20:21 23 September 2017

A disappointed Mick McCarthy at Elland Road Picture Pagepix

A disappointed Mick McCarthy at Elland Road Picture Pagepix

Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy hailed his team’s ‘terrific’ display in this afternoon’s 3-2 defeat at Leeds United, claiming the Championship table-toppers ‘dodged a bullet’.

The Blues went toe-to-toe with the in-form hosts in an enthralling game played out in front of 34,000 fans at Elland Road.

David McGoldrick’s header (30) cancelled out Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s opener (13), Town then started the second half on the front foot only for keeper Bartsoz Bialkowski to fumble an inswinging corner over the line for what went down as an own goal (67). Joe Garner quickly pulled one back (71) and Leeds endured a nervy finish.

• Leeds Utd 3 Ipswich Town 2 – Match report & gallery

“I’m always disappointed to lose, but I’m even more disappointed today because of how well we’ve played,” said McCarthy. “I’ll forgive Bart because he probably kept us in the league last year and has been brilliant. There are no recriminations there.

“The first goal was a straight ball down the middle that shouldn’t end up in the back of our net. The second goal. Somebody needs to track their runner. If they don’t, they don’t play – simple as that.

“But I thought we were terrific. Second half we had one hand on their throat and just couldn’t turn it into a goal. I’m really pleased with our performance though. I thought we were terrific.

“We all know it could have been a different outcome had we not defended hopelessly. That’s ifs, buts and maybes though. I can be inspired by how we played because this is a tough place to come. They know they’ve dodged a bullet here today.”

He continued: “We have that spirit and character in abundance – that’s always been the case. We’d have been in serious trouble last year if we hadn’t had that team spirit.

“Today I thought we showed a good deal of quality too. We were very good, so that makes it even more galling that we lost the game.”

With 17-year-old Tristan Nydam handed his second league start for the Blues, McCarthy said: “He was terrific. I guess if he hadn’t been so good you’d have all been asking me why I didn’t start Bersant Celina. I did that because Tristan Nydam is different class. He’s a proper player. How does the song go? He’s one of our own.”

When a Yorkshire-based journalist asked what his aims were this season, he replied: “My aim, always, is to piss off all those people who write me off. I’ve been doing it for about 25 years and I hope I can do it again this season.”

Asked that really was his aim, he replied: “What part of that quote don’t you understand? I don’t say things that I don’t mean.”

Quizzed if his side could be top-six contenders, he said: “If that’s the level of performance we can achieve every week then I think we can look forward to a far better season than last year. Wherever we end up, I don’t know.

“I’m not going to sit here and start saying we can get in the play-offs. People would like to hear that I suppose, but me being pragmatic and stubborn and grounded has served me well over the last 25 years. I’ve done alright.”

Leeds boss Thomas Christiansen said: “It was an intense game that had everything. Second half we should have controlled the game a little better, but they put us under pressure and made us suffer. The most important thing was the three points because this was a six point game today when you look at where they are in the table.”

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