Ipswich 1-2 Sunderland - Manager Reaction

Last updated : 24 January 2004 By Footymad

Ipswich manager Joe Royle felt his side were unfortunate to lose the game saying: "We have not done too much wrong today but lost out to a decisive mistake. They've defended magnificently and we've given them two goals."

Royle has been in the market for another forward, which has been surprising news for Town fans as their side are the top scorers in Division One: "People have been asking why I've been looking for a striker on loan but their keeper has hardly had a save to make.

"At the business end of the pitch we are not good enough at the moment. We have not defended properly and the strikers haven't scored."

Ipswich also lost narrowly 3-2 at Sunderland in the league in September and Royle said: "I felt we were unfortunate to lose that game up there and I also felt we were a bit hard done by today.

"We still have to play them down here in the league and if we had to lose to Sunderland I would prefer it to be in the Cup, but you're always disappointed to lose at home."

Black Cats boss Mick McCarthy felt his side did enough to earn their narrow victory commenting: "We probably just about deserved that.In the first half we played very well and for the away side we were controlled, not giving them many chances and kept possession well.

"It was a good finish by Tommy Smith for the first goal. We then had the expected second-half onslaught - it was almost as if our goal seemed to lift them.

"We got a very fortunate break for the second goal, but then we've not had too many this season, and there are times when that happens when the ball is cleared but Julio did well to follow it in.

"That took the sting out of Ipswich for a while and although we lost a goal it was too late for anything to happen."

McCarthy had praise for his two goalscorers saying: "Julio is a terrific player who is having a fine season and did very well today even though he was playing in what many would consider to be not his strongest position.

"I thought Smith played very well. His movement is always very good and although sometimes the ball doesn't stick to him he took his chance extremely well."

Asked about his own FA Cup pedigree, McCarthy joked: "I've not got further than my own backyard when I played in the Cup. In all seriousness, I did have a couple of good Cup runs as a player at Millwall but I can't remember how far I got. I think it's a really exciting competition though and it's nice to still be a part of that excitement.

"As a kid I always wanted to play in the Cup Final, and although the Champions League these days may be better for clubs, you're remembered forever for playing in a Cup Final. It was important to get back to winning ways after our defeat at Millwall last week.

"It was not so much the defeat more our very poor performance on the day. I feel a Cup run can be a help to our league form, and certainly the players get a buzz out of it.

"We are in a great position and who knows how far we can get and we might make a nice few quid out of it as well.I thought our centre-halves were brilliant today.

"I had a pop at them last week when I felt they gave Danny Dichio too easy a ride but they were much better today playing against two good strikers in Shefki Kuqi and Pablo Counago.