Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Thanks Squad

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

McCarthy Thanks Squad

Article excerpt

Byline: By Luke Edwards

Mick McCarthy last night thanked his players for helping him to turn Sunderland's season around after victory over champions Norwich City secured a promotion play-off place.

The Black Cats' boss is well aware of the potential pain that end-of-season knockout competitions can cause after suffering disappointments with Millwall and the Republic of Ireland.

But, after a shaky start to life in the Nationwide League which saw the Wearsiders suffer two straight defeats, he is adamant his squad deserve a large amount of credit for what they have already managed to achieve this season.

He said: "I know we've still got a lot to do if we are going to be promoted, but it is still an achievement for the club to finish in the play-offs.

"If you look back at the first two games of the season, when we lost at Nottingham Forest and at home to Millwall, we have come a long way since then. The players deserve a lot of credit for what they have done and I'm really pleased for them - and for me.

"We've earned our plaudits and even players like Alan Quinn and Stewart Downing who have come here on loan have contributed to what we've done as well."

Despite last night's defeat, secured by Carl Robinson's first goal for the Black Cats, Norwich were still crowned champions as West Bromwich Albion lost at Stoke.

But McCarthy was more concerned with what his own side had managed to achieve so soon after the disastrous relegation from the top flight.

He said: "They battered us for five minutes. Somebody told me they might not be bothered about the result, but that is a crock of rubbish. I'd hate to see a team come here who is bothered. It was a very good performance from us and it was a win over a team who have proven themselves to be the best in the division over the course of the season." Sunderland must now wait to see who they will face in the play-offs, but McCarthy is sticking to the philosophy of not caring who will stand between them and a place in this month's promotion decider at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. …

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