Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has warned his players they will face a massive test in the Carling Cup tonight against Manchester United from the first minute to the last – whenever that may be!
After United’s last-gasp success deep into stoppage time against arch-rivals Manchester City last weekend, McCarthy has made it clear that Alex Ferguson’s side will grind teams down to the very last second of the match.
McCarthy, who has promised to adapt an attacking approach at Old Trafford, said: “If there is one team you have got to see it out against then it is Manchester United because they won the European Cup by scoring in the 91st and 93rd minutes against Bayern Munich (in 1999).
“You have got to see it out against them.They just keep going forward. They grind you down. They keep drilling you all the time and if you don’t see it out they will beat you.
“They have got the best players and they work as hard as anyone else.
“If it is good enough for Manchester United to run around and tackle and have people moaning about their midfield players nailing people in tackles and getting about the pitch, then I hope they are all moaning about mine at the end of the season and we are still in the league.”
As for the wider debate about the additional time played at the end of matches, McCarthy added: “When they put the board up they say it is a minimum time.
“They put four up for us on Sunday against Fulham and I think it was 40 seconds over and nobody scored in that four minutes to add another 40 seconds on.
“It depends what people are doing in that four minutes and if they think people are wasting time they can add it on.
“Would I be complaining if they scored in the seventh minute? Too right I would be complaining.
“Yes I would but I might also be having a whinge at my team as well for not seeing it out.”
McCarthy is relishing the chance to pit his wits against Ferguson and he added: “I am looking forward to it and as far as I am concerned there is only one way to approach the game.
“If I just go to Old Trafford and say ’come and attack us’ we will get slapped. I don’t see any way around that.
“If you let them have the ball at the back, let them pass their way out and let them play then I will come away feeling rubbish that we have not attempted to try and be on the front foot.”
McCarthy has confirmed that former Manchester United trainee Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Stefan Maierhofer and Michael Kightly will start.