The Citizens made it four wins from four against the Clever Boys this season, after they pulled off a 1-0 “smash-and-grab” at the Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The visitors took the lead inside two minutes, through debutant Matthew Rusike, and looked to close shop in the cold, wet conditions in Johannesburg.
McCarthy conceded that it wasn’t the most exciting game of football but explained that his initial game-plan was disrupted by the weather, as well as the early goal.
“There was no shut up shop. The pitch got heavy, and I think the rain came at the wrong time because I looked for a good game of football,” said McCarthy.
“I certainly wanted to play, that’s why I went with Ayanda Patosi, Teko Modise, Roland Putsche, Lyle Lakay, Sibusiso Masina, Matthew Rusike – who I’m trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible, so I needed to play him from the start and for as long as possible.
“But the rain just set both teams back, and when we scored it was an invitation to give Wits the room to come at us. It’s not how I would have liked us to play but there’s not much you can do from the side.
“The players dropped off and allowed Wits to really come at us and test our defence, which they got through a couple of times but, fortunately, we held it down pretty well.
“I’ve got to give compliments and all the credit to my players for really grinding out [the result]. If they say ‘smash-and-grab’, this is the real smash-and-grab and I’ll take it.”
The former FC Porto striker added that sometimes grinding out the result is more important than impressing with the performance, which showed when they lost 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend.
“We try and play beautiful, entertaining football, so I don’t think people can really complain about the smash-and-grab today, because against Sundowns we gave people a show,” he added.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise on the opportunities we created, but nobody can question whether we can play football – we can compete and we’re here to do that.
“We’re no pushovers and we’re not just going to lie down for anyone. Today we had to do it a different way as compared to what we tried against Sundowns, and I’ll take that.
“As a coach, you take the result. Sometimes your team is disappointed because you lose against Sundowns when they played so well, and today we were in a dog-fight and we win. So, you don’t complain.”