Mick McCarthy speaking ahead of Barnsley game

Last updated : 27 January 2021 By Michael Morris

How are you settling?

So far so good. I’ll tell you a bit better when we’ve played some games.


Weather’s not been easy? How’s training been?

Training ground’s great. We’ve had the pitches covered, so we only had two-thirds of the pitch yesterday because of the frost, but the staff have been great in getting us out on the pitch.

Pleased with what you’ve seen?

They’ve been great. They've trained well. I’ve been delighted with them on the training ground. Really pleased. From that point of view, and I've enjoyed, but as I said, we need games. That will determine how good the reaction has been.

Will you get answer to challenge in front of you against Barnsley?

Yes. Training's one thing. You see players that train well on a regular basis, but can’t get in the team, because when they play they're not as good

Barnsley will be a real test for us. I watched them beat Norwich on Saturday in the FA Cup. Real high-energy team. High press, and they get after the opposition. They'll be up for it and we've got to respond to that. I'm hoping we'll see that reaction.

Morrison suggested confidence was low. Was that first on the to-do list?

Yes. How do you get confidence back into them? A solid team performance and getting results. Nothing else gets it back. They might enjoy training, it might be a bit more fun. I’ve been there when you’re losing games. It’s hard to come in with smiles on your face. So if the last two days have been a bit lighter and they enjoy it, it will only continue with a result against Barnsley. Then it’s Millwall. It all hinges on results, there’s no doubt about that.

I listened to Pep talking about the sacking of Frank, and he said it’s all about results. If you don’t get results, you're in trouble.

Team news

A couple have come back and trained. I’m trying to get to know all the squad… No we’re okay.

Cunningham has come back. Pack’s come back, he’d had a sore knee. Watters pulled out of training yesterday with a sore achilles, which is for me and for him after his big move. We’ll have to see how he is today.

Transfer plan? Any chance to discuss? Or do you think you’ve got enough?

I think we’ve got a good squad. Sometimes if you can bring in a couple of faces it livens the place up. But we’ve not had that conversation yet. The Barnsley game is going to be a real test for us and I’m going to know a lot more on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, but I think we’ve got a strong squad, to be honest.

Warnock been in touch?

Yes. He was in touch as I was driving down, actually. We exchanged pleasantries as you do, but we’ve known each other a long time. I was a 16-year old when he was at Barnsley. I was cleaning his boots and kicking him in training! But we’re good mates and he’s been on to wish me well.

What can you do to pick team up?

We’ve got to stop getting beaten. That’s first and foremost, and you do that by having a solid shape. That’s no disrespect to anybody else. When you get beat, you start to get a bit fragmented on the pitch and they look around and start blaming each other.

I saw a bit of that in the first training session. But it can’t be one man’s fault. You can’t just blame Neil Harris. If you’re in that state where you’ve lost seven games in a row (it's actually SIX), if you concede, you see players drop straight away. We’re going to have to organise against Barnsley and a real solid performance. Only on the back of those will we get confidence back.

Big few games coming up

It is. But you look at the Championship. You never look at any game and think it’ll be easy. We’ll have to get through it with a real togetherness.

I think I can get a reaction out of them. The reaction that matters is the one on the pitch on Wednesday.

What have you seen in your players in training?

It’s always the same. When a club’s not been winning, players are looking for somebody. Somebody coming in and telling them what to do. They need to be told what to do. Footballers seem to have this great confidence, and we don’t. We’re kind of insecure, especially when it’s going badly for us. We look for a magic cure and there isn’t one. If they felt a bit better and I’ve had a positive effect, I’m delighted.

Lampard - sympathy? Did he get it too young maybe?

I don’t think he got it too young. He had his opportunity at Derby and did well. He’s no different to other managers there that lost their job. It is what it is. Pep answered best of all. Your job is result-dependant.

Do you have a line-up in mind for tomorrow night?

Absolutely yes. I do. That was a rhetorical question, I’m guessing.

What exactly did you talk to Warnock about? He knows a few of these players very well. Did he offer any advice?

He wished me well. Not too well. He still wants me to finish behind him!

I did say ‘the way you’re going, if we finish one behind, we might pretty successful’.

No. It was just an exchange of pleasantries. We’ve been friends for a very long time. He’s not offering me any advice or hints or tips. It was just to say well done and that he was delighted for me.

Having assessed the squad, are there any areas you would ideally like to strengthen?

We’ve got 22 players. 2 players in every position. There might be some movement, but I want to get this game out of the way first. Let’s have a look and see what happens.

There may be some who are playing, or some who are not playing that might feel like they want to move, but we need all the players that we’ve got and if anybody does move then I guess it’ll be with our permission or if we can do something else to replace them.

We don’t want to be left with the bare bones either.

Not ruling out outgoings then?

No. Not really. We might have to have a change. Some players that don’t play might think they want an opportunity elsewhere. But at the moment I’ve got 22 or 23, there’s a couple that are injured, and we need all those players. I’m not looking to get shot of anybody and I’m guessing that if we’ve still got those 23 players then it’ll be difficult to bring anybody in.

But I want to get this game out the way. This is the most important thing for me and for the club.

Barnsley connection - fitting to have them up first?

I don’t know. Got Millwall next and then Bristol City was where TC was. You can’t get more affinity with any other clubs, but we’ll do our best. Barnsley’s my hometown and means a lot to me but I’m focused on winning this game