Wolves boss Mick McCarthy hit out at the critics who questioned his integrity after he fielded a near-reserve side against Manchester United.
McCarthy made 10 changes for the trip to Old Trafford last Tuesday night, with his second-string side losing 3-0.
All but one of the rested players returned on Sunday afternoon and the difference was noticeable as Wolves beat relegation rivals Burnley 2-0 – Nenad Milijas and Kevin Doyle grabbing the goals – to move out of the bottom three in the Barclays Premier League.
McCarthy insists he was not concerned about the reaction to his tinkering but was clearly still riled by the issue.
He said: “I have to be able to manage the club, manage the players, maximise my resources, pick teams and be trusted with it by everyone concerned.
“The day I’m not trusted is the day I get out of the door, so I have to be allowed to do that. People’s opinions of my decision about the side I put out at Old Trafford, I’m not bothered with. One or two people’s opinions of me, and my character, I might have trouble with.
“One or two dubious characters have been giving me a bit of stick, questioning my honesty and integrity, when I stand up for all those things. I’ve never cheated in my life, never done anything like that. Questioning my character hurts.”
Wolves have now taken nine points from the last four games and the picture is far brighter than after the dismal performance against Birmingham three weeks ago.
McCarthy said: “We’ve had nine points out of 12 since the Birmingham game and people who were here when we played Birmingham would never have thought that, that we would get anywhere near.
“I am delighted with the performance against Burnley but I kind of expected it because of the decisions I made. The nice part was the players believed in me and trusted me and let me get on with it.
“They were 100% behind the decisions I made and they played well and won the game.”
Record signing Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake formed an effective forward partnership as they repeated the form shown in the win at Tottenham last weekend.
But McCarthy insisted: “If they had played against United, they couldn’t have done it. The two of them were knackered after Spurs, running on empty, and they have been brilliant.
“It is amazing what a rest does for you. It is interesting, the rotating thing. It is only the top clubs who rotate. Mick McCarthy leaves 10 out.”
Burnley have now gone seven games without a win after their flying start to the campaign and manager Owen Coyle knows they have to improve at both ends of the pitch.
He said: “At this level you must defend well and at the other end, if you get chances you must take them. We didn’t do both of those things well enough and we have paid a heavy price.
“We were architects of our own downfall although, in fairness to Wolves, Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake caused us problems all afternoon.
“I also felt we had two strong penalty claims and the challenge on Steven Fletcher was a cast-iron penalty. He was dragged to the ground.”