Mick McCarthy says his Ipswich Town side have set the benchmark, after moving out of the Championship bottom three by seeing off Nottingham Forest.

Goals from Guirane N'Daw, Luke Hyam and Daryl Murphy gave them a 3-1 victory at Portman Road. And McCarthy has challenged his players to reproduce that level of performance in the coming weeks, to make sure they don't get sucked into a relegation dogfight.

"Unless I've woken up and it's May 4th, I'm not bothered," said McCarthy, referring to his side climbing out of the bottom three.

"We'll all get a kick from seeing it but we've got tough games coming up, so we've got to maintain that level of performance and make sure we stay out of it.

"There's no time for patting each other on the back or stroking each other's egos. I enjoyed it and we played well, but now we've got to play like that every week."

McCarthy was at a loss to explain his side's topsy-turvy form since he took charge on November 1.

"I haven't got a clue why," he said. "You tell me. If I knew the answer to that question, I'd write a book that would change the face of football forever and I'd be a multi-millionaire."

Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll was so stunned by his side's performance that he considered making a change midway through the first half.

"I was going to make a change after 20 minutes, but that probably a bit too radical," he said. "I could have brought anyone on. I just needed to change things."

He added: "You can never take anything for granted in this league. It baffles me and I'm not happy. There were mistakes all over the pitch, in every area. We lost the ball from our kick-off and that gave them a start. Ipswich then gained momentum."