McCarthy hits back at 'dirty' jibes following Zamora injury
Are Wolves a "Disgrace to the Premiership" as Fulham supporters sang on Saturday? Or has Mick McCarthy simply built a side in his own image, which is hard but fair?
One incident in the 28th minute, which resulted in Bobby Zamora incurring a broken leg that is likely to keep the Fulham striker out of action until well into 2011, summed up the situation.
Zamora was running towards goal with the ball until Karl Henry tackled him, slightly from behind and from the side. Henry won the ball cleanly, but their legs became entangled and Zamora went down, his leg fractured four centimetres above the ankle.
The crowd bayed for Henry's blood but it was not until later that the Wolves captain became one of six players in gold shirts to be cautioned by referee Phil Dowd, who did not consider the challenge on Zamora to be worthy of a free-kick.
Fulham's fans sensed that Wolves were out to kick their side off the park, an accusation that had been levelled publicly at McCarthy's side after their draw with Newcastle two weeks ago.
They were further aggrieved that the referee waved away three penalty appeals, two of which were "stonewall" penalties according to Fulham manager Mark Hughes.
But they may have felt justice was done in the closing minutes when Wolves defender Christophe Berra was sent off for a second yellow card, resulting in the free-kick from which Moussa Dembele scored the winning goal, having also earlier equalised the opening goal from Jelle van Damme.
McCarthy, though, was upset by the accusations against his team and their growing reputation as a 'dirty' side. "We had one game that was a real tough one, with 'Match of the Day' highlighting all the challenges, that brought it to everyone's attention," said the Wolves boss.
"Then we get the crowd chanting 'Disgrace to the Premiership' which is totally untrue. For the past two weeks we have spent all our time practising possession and passing."
Hughes was delighted with the result and the contribution of his new young striker, while devastated for Zamora's bad break. "It's cruel because he'd got to a point where he was playing at a really high level, producing the goods week in and week out. So to be taken out of the top level for four months is a real disappointment, not just for him but for us as well."
Hughes did not criticise Henry and sympathised with McCarthy. "I don't think there was any intent to hurt Bobby and I lay no blame on the player, but sometimes legs can get trapped underneath each other and that is what happened." (© Daily Telegraph, London)