McCarthy remains unperturbed over Wolves' goal drought

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The Independent Football

Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager, insists he will not adopt a gung-ho approach to try and improve side's chronic lack of goalpower and is only concerned about ensuring Premier League survival.

McCarthy has seen his side edge clear of the bottom three with the emphasis being on a solid defence which has kept three clean sheets in the last four games. At the other end of the pitch, Wolves are without a goal in six and a half hours and have managed only one in their last eight home matches. But McCarthy will only be concerned about that statistic if Wolves go down.

He said: "It matters because everyone wants to see goals. It matters because we want to win games. But it doesn't matter if we finish on more points than at least three other teams and have scored less goals.

"I don't know what people want me to say about it. I can't answer it any more than saying 'Don't get beat.'

"I want to win but if it ends up being 0-0 against Blackburn [on Saturday], as it was on Saturday at Fulham, that's fine because I don't want to lose," he added.

"I'll be telling the lads, for a start just don't get beat. Then you have half a chance of winning and you've got a chance of taking something. I still maintain the view that if we don't concede we have a damn sight more chance of winning games than if we are 2-0 down and looking to get back into a match."

McCarthy said: "It's not a surprise we have to base our game on trying to keep clean sheets because, if we don't give anything away, then we've always got a chance.

"We all love to play expansive football, but you can't always do it. Birmingham have played in that same solid way. Their success has been built on clean sheets. That's vital because, if you give goals away, then it's very difficult to get back into it."

McCarthy is expecting Wolves will have to pull out all the stops to pick up further points despite Blackburn and Sunderland being safe in mid-table and Portsmouth having already been relegated and in the FA Cup final.

He said: "It's dangerous to be playing the teams we've got ahead. They could come and take their foot off the gas but I don't see that happening.

"Do you think Sam Allardyce, Steve Bruce and Avram Grant are going to say 'Let's just go and have a game lads?' There is no chance of that happening."

Meanwhile, the Birmingham manager, Alex McLeish, has challenged his players to prove they are not one-season wonders. McLeish has performed a minor miracle after spending only £10m on new signings last summer but steering Blues into the top half of the Premier League.

But the former Scotland manager is aware of examples of sides impressing during their first season in the top flight and then struggling the second time around to survive. Reading and now Hull are prime examples of that happening in recent seasons.

McLeish said: "The progress we have made this season has exceeded my expectations but can we do it again next season? That's the challenge for us.

"People talk about 'second season syndrome' and there have been clubs who have suffered from that before. But I believe I have got the character in the dressing room to maintain the Premier League status we have achieved this season so well. We want to become established in the Premier League."

McLeish will look to add quality players during the summer with the backing of new owner Carson Yeung. But he is also aware of the dangers of upsetting the dressing room by bringing in players on big salaries. He said: "We don't want to be paying huge, huge wages that upset the dressing room and means I will get everyone chapping [banging] on my door.

"But at some stage we are going to have to put a hike on the wages if we are going to bring in more quality to the club and try and improve our standing as it is at the moment. It is important not to stand still but it's also important that if it isn't broke, don't fix it."