Sport Soccer

Sunday 18 February 2018

McCarthy calls for fresh focus


Bobby Zamora rattled the Wolves woodwork in the second half but Fulham otherwise struggled to break down the spirited visitors who are now six points clear of relegation with three matches left.

Roy Hodgson admitted that Thursday's historic game in Germany would be in the back of his mind for the Wolves clash, but denied that his players' thoughts were elsewhere yesterday. "It wasn't a case of Thursday being a distraction today," he said. "It was a case of having to deal with a team who are difficult to deal with because they are well-rehearsed with their style of play.

"They kick the ball up from their goalkeeper and try to hold you in the box and the first thing you have to do is deal with that and don't slip up and concede goals. In the second half we did well to get the ball down and get behind them and we did better.

"But credit to Mick McCarthy and his team," Hodgson acknowledged. "Because they were prepared to sweat blood and got their reward."

Wolves' only defeat in their past seven matches came against Arsenal and they will now face Blackburn, Portsmouth and Sunderland before the end of the season.

Wolves boss McCarthy denied that the result meant his side were now safe from relegation. "I don't think we're there yet but games are running out and we have taken another point. We still have important games left," the former Republic of Ireland boss said. "This is silly season. Results are strange this time of year and I don't want any silly results that might upset us."

Hodgson was delighted to have picked up no fresh injuries ahead of Thursday's clash, as they look to extend a European campaign which has already seen them account for the likes of Juventus, Wolfsburg and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Brede Hangeland was absent from the Cottagers' starting team after his wife went into labour. Hodgson hopes that the Norway centre half will be available for Thursday though.

"Hangeland would have played had she not [gone into labour] but we hope that he becomes a father for the second time by Monday and by Tuesday he'll be back in training and ready to play in Hamburg," said Hodgson.

Sunday Independent

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