Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy leaves the mind games to Jose Mourinho ahead of Norwich City derby
PUBLISHED: 07:30 28 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:40 28 February 2015
Mick McCarthy has been around the block too often to get embroiled in mind games with Norwich City manager Alex Neil.
The experienced Ipswich chief accepts there is much more than pride at stake in Sunday’s Carrow Road clash, with Ipswich one point ahead of their neighbours.
“I’m not Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger or Alex Ferguson. I don’t do mind games. I’m not in to all that caper of adding pressure to somebody,” he said. “There’s pressure on us to win the game. We could go out of the top six or even get in to the top two. There’s pressure on us all.
“I don’t think there’s any more pressure on them. Not at all. There’s three points at stake for both of us.
“It’s all about getting three points for me. There’s the added thing with the fans, I get that and I never underestimate that or dismiss that, but for me it’s all about three points, or a point. Get something out of the game and stay in the top six and keep competing for the top two. That won’t change when we go to Leeds either. Or when we face Brentford at home.
“It’s a huge game. There is lots at stake but the chance for local bragging rights, on this occasion, is smaller than the bigger goal – and that’s promotion.”
McCarthy insists Norwich’s five-match winning run under Neil has merely made up lost ground for a pre-festive slump from Norwich.
“I think they are now where everyone expected them to be, at the very least,” he said. “They arguably have one the strongest squads, if not the strongest squad, in the league and have a team that’s playing well. Norwich have come from a false position that they shouldn’t have been in. Now they’re in the top six, can they keep going? We’ll see.
“I think he’s got a really strong squad of players and one of the best teams in the league. If that want to treat us like that little also-ran on Sunday I’ll be delighted. I don’t think they will somehow, because, come Sunday at two o’clock, everything I’ve said, and everything he’s said, it won’t matter a jot when the two teams walk out on to the pitch.”
Neil made it clear in the build-up he expects a frenetic opening to the derby, but McCarthy is confident his side will not take a backward step.
“Has he watched us play? All my team of shrinking violets will not be happy with that at all,” he joked. “Of course there’s always a bit more of an edge. You’ve watched my team and know that they give everything they’ve got every week. The passion and the fervour of the crowd lifts players and gives these games a little bit of an extra edge.”
“You don’t have to show the fans your passion by going around and being stupid with tackles and throwing your arms around and complaining at the referee though. You just have to be passionate with the way you play.”