The Blues earned their first victory of 2014 by overcoming fellow Championship playoff hopefuls Reading 2-0 at Portman Road, keeping their first clean sheet at home for nine games in the process.
"First half we weren't particularly great, but second half we were a lot better and deservedly won the game," McCarthy told the East Anglian Daily Times.
"I keep saying that you get bad times in the season and we might have another bad time yet.
"What I do know though is that they are a really good honest bunch of pros who were really hurt by [last week's 1-0 defeat at Millwall]. They didn't like that. It's nice when you come back and win against a good side that's fancied to be in the top six."
Three points saw Ipswich climb up to seventh, two points adrift of today's opponents Reading, who occupy the final playoff spot.