MICK MCCARTHY insisted he did not need this victory as “vindication” for his roll-over at Manchester United, but his actions told a rather different story.
Moments after the final whistle signalled a precious win for his side, the former Ireland manager gathered his side and squad members together for an on-field huddle, which ended with back-slaps all round.
McCarthy would never admit it, but the manager – who had courted such controversy by making 10 changes to his first-choice line-up for the 3-0 defeat at Manchester United last week – was clearly grateful his rested regulars justified his decision thanks to goals from Nenad Milijas and Kevin Doyle.
“Did the win justify my midweek team selection? I’m not looking for it at all, justification or vindication,” 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, isn’t it? So I have to be allowed to do that.
“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. It is about all the games, not just about today.
“I am delighted but I kind of expected it (the performance) 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 today and won the game.
“It is all about results. People’s opinions of my decisions, I’m not bothered with one or two people’s opinions of me, and my character, I might have trouble with.
“I’m not going to appease people just because we won. I’m not really bothered. We’ve got 19 points and it is a lot better feeling than it was two weeks ago.”
Wolves were well worth their win, with record signing Doyle leading the Wolves attack effectively and again justifying his £6.5 million price tag with his fifth goal of the campaign and creating the other for Milijas.
The perseverance of Doyle led to Wolves taking the lead after 16 minutes. The Ireland striker’s never-say-die attitude enabled him to dispossess Burnley defender Clarke Carlisle and tee up a chance for Matt Jarvis, whose shot was parried by Clarets keeper Brian Jensen. Milijas was first to react to the rebound and side-footed his shot into the corner of the net.
Burnley tried to retaliate and Chris Eagles set up an excellent chance for Kevin McDonald but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Doyle had an even better opportunity to double Wolves’ lead after he had beaten the offside trap to run onto a chip over the Burnley defence from Milijas, but he was foiled by Jensen, who blocked his shot with his outstretched right leg.
Doyle did double Wolves’ lead with his fifth goal of the campaign after 50 minutes. Jody Craddock floated the ball forward and Doyle showed great control in shrugging off the challenge of Steven Caldwell and cutting inside Duff before firing past Jensen.
“It showed, didn’t it?” Doyle observed, when asked whether McCarthy’s rotation policy paid off. “We were sharp from the off. It’s amazing what a couple of wins do. People were writing us off a few weeks ago but we’ve got three important points and three important wins. Hopefully it’ll be a nice Christmas.”
Burnley have now conceded 29 goals in their nine away games, which have yielded only one point and manager Owen Coyle believes they need to improve at both ends of the pitch to change that poor record.
“It is very obvious that we have lost two terrible goals. For the first one, there were three or four individual mistakes.
“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 today and we have paid a heavy price.
“We were architects of our own downfall, although, in fairness to Wolves, Doyle and Ebanks-Blake caused us problems all afternoon.”
REFEREE: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) 5: Burnley were, perhaps, right to feel slightly aggrieved with a few non-penalty decisions.
MATCH RATING: *** Wolves looked fresh – wonder why? – and they took full advantage.
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