'Nasty' tractor boys put a smile on Mick McCarthy's face
Mick McCarthy was delighted to see Ipswich get "nasty" in the 1-0 victory at MK Dons that boosted their Sky Bet Championship promotion hopes.
Brett Pitman's 10th-minute effort was enough to decide the contest and make it three away wins in a row as the Tractor Boys seek a top-six spot.
Manager McCarthy conceded his team did not quite produce the free-flowing football that brought big wins at Charlton and Rotherham in recent weeks, but he was just as happy with the end result.
"I'm delighted. It was a really tough, resolute and well-organised performance against a team that had lots of the ball," he said. "We had some really clear-cut chances to put the game to bed sooner.
"We didn't give a lot away. But they are a good side and there's lots of things we need to do to be successful in this league and that's sometimes doing some of the dirty things well, too. The nasty side of the game is just as important to me because without that you've got no chance in this league.
"We need to look at our home record this season, but this league just seems to keep throwing up away performances so of course that's pleasing. It's three points but May will decide where we end up, we've got a great three points here and that's all I'll be taking away from today.I thought in the first half we had the better of the game and they had the better of it in the final 10 to 15 minutes."
MK Dons enjoyed the lion's share of possession and laid siege to the Ipswich goal at the death, but they were thwarted time and again by stopper Dean Gerken. And boss Karl Robinson felt his men deserved a reward for their efforts.
"My players were sensational and I think we deserved more than what we got out of the game," he said. "I was so proud of them at the end and that's why I stood there and clapped them off the pitch. We got in really good areas and caused them a number of problems.
"They're a tremendous group of people and they understand what it means to play for this club and wear this shirt - the players were sensational They scored a goal against the run of play because we were the better team in the first 10 minutes. We told them not to go for it too early on because if we do that then they'd go on to get a second and third, so we have to be savvy in those situations.
"This is the harsh reality of the Championship, but the players asked to be at this level last season so they have to stand up and accept the challenge."