Managerial comradeship counted for nothing as Mick McCarthy basked in a "nice warm feeling" created by Wolves' defeat of a Sunderland team striving to impress Martin O'Neill, who takes over at the Stadium of Light today after a watching brief at Molineux.
"Martin's a pal of mine but I'm glad I made his bleeding job harder on Monday morning," the Wolves manager beamed after his side beat one of his former clubs and moved four points clear of the bottom three. "I'm thrilled that I've made his task harder than it looked as if it might be after an hour. I'm just glad I did not do him any favours."
Asked whether O'Neill's presence would have had any effect on his new charges, who were under the guidance of caretaker manager Eric Black following Steve Bruce's departure last week, after two and a half years at the club, McCarthy replied: "If the new manager is sat in the dug-out, it might be different but I think the Sunderland players all put a shift in for Blacky.
"You can't say they didn't come here and try their hardest. It looked like two fairly ordinary teams scrapping around at the bottom of the league for a lot of the match, but it turned out to be a wonderful celebration. You go through the wringer sometimes when you're sat on the sidelines, but of course I'm delighted and thrilled with the result.
"The crowd were genuinely delighted for me and for the players. We were 1-0 down and they stuck with us. Everybody here, no-one more so than up in the directors' box, they all want me to be a success. That's a nice warm feeling."
Black admitted the match would have provided food for thought for O'Neill: "Martin will have seen the strengths we have. I think he knows there are some good things to take forward but he'll also know there are some problems. I'm sure he'll start [today] trying to rectify those problems and be able to start turning things around.
"I'm confident there's enough quality to do that. The players that are here are all of good quality, but the obvious issue is that we could do with someone to score a goal. If we take more chances, it puts pressure on the other team. Unfortunately, those type of players are quite elusive but I'm sure Martin will do everything he can to try to find one."
O'Neill himself said he would do his "utmost to bring a bit of success to Sunderland". He added: "It's a nice feeling to be back in football and obviously I'm very excited about joining Sunderland. It's a big moment and I'm hoping it works out well.
"All I can say, without promising the earth, moon and stars is I will do my utmost to bring a bit of success to Sunderland."
- More about:
- P Funk