Mick McCarthy backs his Ipswich Town players to handle the hype ahead of Norwich City return
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Mick McCarthy insists it would be pointless trying to play down the hype ahead of Ipswich's Championship play-off semi-final, second leg trip to Norwich City.
The East Anglian rivals drew 1-1 at Portman Road on Saturday and McCarthy predicts this week's build-up is set to be crazy with a Wembley place at stake.
'We will have to put the lads in the Big Brother house if we don't want them getting caught up in the hype. Or maybe in the jungle,' he said. 'I get that you don't want them getting hyped up but you can't tell me that my lads will not be at home thinking about this every single day this week. This is even bigger now – one game before Wembley – and you have to deal with it. I have experienced players, men who won't worry about it. You can't protect them from everything. I won't change anything in my planning. We'll be off Wednesday, but the rest of the week we'll prepare like we have done all season. If we start doing something different players will become unhinged.'
McCarthy admitted Saturday's spicy 1-1 first leg draw was a special occasion.
'It was a fantastic atmosphere. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up when we walked out and I've not had that for a while to be honest,' he said. 'It was electric out there and hopefully there will be more of that to come. It was a fair result in the end. We shaded it in the first half, but after 47 games, we had some tired players out there – they did as well.'