MONDAY VERDICT: Mick tries to play down significance of Fulham win, but perfect start could provide real momentum
PUBLISHED: 11:23 11 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:23 11 August 2014
Copyright Ashley Pickering
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy tried to downplay his side's super start to the season - a fully-deserved 2-1 home win over newly-relegated Fulham - as nothing more than 'just three points'.
You’d expect nothing less from the ever pragmatic and grounded Yorkshireman, but his fixed smile and stream of jokes betrayed his sentiment.
There was a real significance to this result because it makes everyone believe that little bit more – both inside and outside the club – that the Blues truly can upset the odds and take another giant leap forwards this season.
This time last year, Town faced all three of the sides who had dropped down from the Premier League inside the opening few weeks of the season.
They performed superbly at Reading, QPR and Wigan, arguably the better side on all three occasions, but ended up coming away with nothing (or zippidy doo daa as McCarthy would say) thanks to fine margin defeats. Already they have proved – with Reading, Norwich and Derby all to come in the next few weeks – that they can now get the job done against the leading contenders.
The fear was that this squad has not been improved enough over the summer to really challenge for a top six spot following last season’s ninth-place finish – especially as the division looks stronger.
The hope was that the qualities of togetherness, spirit, stability, consistency, hard-work and organisation could overcome ‘star names’ and big-spending.
While Fulham’s £11m striker Ross McCormack was subbed in the 57th minute to chants of ‘what a waste of money’ on Saturday, Town’s David McGoldrick made a triumphant return from a long-term injury, stepping off the bench to score the all-important second goal.
There’s still a long way to go, of course, but never underestimate the power of confidence and momentum.