Blame it on me, says Mick, after bruising defeat
IT WASN’T Mick McCarthy going missing defensively as Orlando Sa bagged a hat-trick and it wasn’t the big Yorkshireman failing to clear as Nick Blackman powered home from a tight angle.
But the embarrassed Ipswich boss took responsibility for his side’s abject performance at Reading on Friday that handed them a second consecutive league loss.
The Tractor Boys were largely the architects of their own downfall but in Sa, Blackman and debutant Matej Vydra the Royals have a trio capable of causing every Championship defence problems.
In a frantic opening quarter of an hour, Portuguese striker Sa scored with a header and a low shot either side of Freddie Sears’ equaliser.
Blackman then took advantage as Ipswich, and Cole Skuse in particular, failed to deal with a ball in the box before Sa tapped in for his treble and Oliver Norwood’s longrange effort wrapped things up.
And McCarthy shouldered the brunt of the blame.
“That was unbelievably disappointing and I didn’t see that coming at all,” he said. “It was embarrassing.
“I have to take a fair chunk of responsibility. I played a very attacking team and going forward we did create chances. The players have to take some responsibility as well though.
“The third goal was car-crash defending. No one dealt with it and though the lad took it well, it shouldn’t have got to that.”
Sa headed in Blackman’s rightwing cross on seven minutes for Reading’s first goal at the Madejski Stadium since April 4 and although Sears bundled in a close-range rebound four minutes later, Sa then drilled a 20-yard shot in off the post.
On 49 minutes Blackman thundered in a left-footed strike before turning provider to set Sa up for a tap-in and his hat-trick.
But the best was saved for last as Norwood sent a 30-yard piledriver into the top corner.
And after Reading extended their unbeaten run to seven games, announcing themselves as legitimate promotion contenders, Steve Clarke is convinced the combination of Sa, Blackman and Vydra made the difference.
“The front three were good and combined well,” he said. “All three of them have been working with me since the transfer deadline and in seven or eight sessions they’ve already picked up a good understanding.
“Orlando got his goals, he’s been really good for us since he came in. His movement is good, he’s a striker who needs support around him, dynamic players, and he had that in Vydra and Blackman.
“Nick has done well since the start of the season and Matej will score goals.”
ROYAL DELIGHT: Oliver Norwood celebrates scoring the fifth goal
STAR MAN ORLAN
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