The performance and result against Derby was typical of the majority of our performances this year. A fabulous result, exactly what was required and yet without reaching the level that we saw against Newcastle a few games ago.
I always thought we were the better side and looked pretty comfortable in the first half, probably too comfortable if I was to be ultra critical. We seemed to lack that telling final pass or cutting edge. When we conceded at the start of the second half it really kicked us into gear and for 15 or 20 minutes we played some exquisite stuff, attacking Derby from both flanks and really showing what we can do. The two goals that we scored came just at the right time and it was inevitable that Derby would have a go at us for the last ten minutes or so. It was a bit nerve-jangly towards the end but the back four defended resolutely and Keiron Westwood pulled off that super save low down to his left to help us pick up another vital three points.
Any footballer will tell you that there is no rhyme nor reason why performances can fluctuate from game to game. You are trying to play at your optimum level, it is extremely difficult to sustain that level game after game and that is why the very best in the world are just that, the best in the world, but the better players have a habit of producing their best at just the right time. Carlos has a number of big game players to choose from in my opinion and the experience that they will have gained from last years run-in, and subsequent play offs, will hold each and every one of them in good stead for the remainder of the season. You cannot reproduce the build up that surrounds those massive games and the more the players and staff experiences it the better they will be because of it.
I’ve talked in the past about this time of year being the business end of the season and you really cannot ask for anything more than what the team has produced in their recent run of games. Five wins out of five is an outstanding return and with most of the results going our way last Saturday the league table changed dramatically once again. It just shows how difficult this league is and with just two games remaining we are still on track to make that top six. You can analyse the matches that remain, try and work out every permutation but personally I think doing that is a waste of time. Carlos and his team need to focus on one thing and one thing only, this weekends visit to Portman Road. There has been no mid week game so no distractions and hopefully everybody will be fit and ready to go.
Which Ipswich side turns up on Saturday remains to be seen really, having been beaten last week by Rotherham I am sure Mick McCarthy will be looking for a positive reaction to that performance and result. A win would secure us a play-off spot and I am sure everyone would prefer to go into the final game of the season against the current in-form side Fulham with it already sorted.
Huddersfield secured their play-off spot with their win at Wolves and so with just four teams now playing for the three play off places these are nailbiting times.