Mick McCarthy plays down automatic qualification hopes despite fifth straight win on the road
Published 30/12/2015 | 07:59
Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy felt it was a good time to play Brighton after his side equalled a club record of five successive away league wins with a 1-0 victory at the Amex Stadium.
A first half goal from striker Daryl Murphy, his seventh of the season, proved enough to equal the feat last achieved under Bobby Robson in 1976.
The Seagulls, now without a win in their last five games, went into the Sky Bet Championship clash with seven first-team players injured.
McCarthy said: "I thought we had an opportunity. Brighton have lost a few players and we were playing them at a good time because we have been playing well.
"I thought we were the better team to be honest. Our keeper Dean Gerken didn't make a lot of saves. We had the better chances whereas Brighton had the ball percentage."
McCarthy believes automatic promotion is not a realistic target for his sixth-placed team, who will target a sixth successive win on the road at Burnley on Saturday.
He added: "It's tough to get a run of away wins and we've got Burnley on Saturday - a tough ask, but we'll see.
"It's not realistic for us to catch Middlesbrough and Derby and I don't think automatic promotion is realistic. But we will be trying like hell to catch them."
Brighton manager Chris Hughton confessed his injury-hit side we going through a testing time after suffering another home defeat following their 3-0 reverse to Middlesbrough.
Hughton said: "We are going through a difficult period. We are finding it hard.
"We've hit a few problems and have generally worked around it, but we need to show we're good enough to get through this.
"The injuries have made it difficult, yes, but we don't want to use it as an excuse. Middlesbrough were a good side when they came here, but we should have got something tonight."
Hughton introduced veteran Bobby Zamora and Manchester United loanee James Wilson midway through the second half having been unable to start with the strikers.
The Seagulls boss added: "James has not been well and couldn't start whereas with Bobby it is a management thing - we have to work him appropriately. We have to be mindful of how he trains."
Hughton singled out Connor Goldson for special praise on his full debut, while he leapt to the defence of central defensive partner Lewis Dunk, whose error led to Murphy scoring the only goal.
"Connor was one of the positives. He performed particularly well and lasted the 90 minutes," said Hughton.
"Dunk was at fault for the goal but mistakes are part and parcel of the game. There's nothing I can tell him that will change how he feels. Any player that goes through it will look forward to the next game even more."