McCarthy shrugs off fan abuse

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy is willing to face a barrage of abuse tomorrow as his side set out to restore their battered reputation.

McCarthy has this week been forced to defend his players following accusations they are an overly aggressive side after collecting seven bookings in each of their last two games, incurring a £75,000 fine from the Football Association.

In last Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Fulham, during which Bobby Zamora sustained a broken right leg after a fair tackle from Karl Henry, the angry Cottagers fans turned on McCarthy and his players.

As referee Phil Dowd dished out the bookings, including two and a red for Christophe Berra, chants of "you're a disgrace to the Premiership" echoed around Craven Cottage.

McCarthy was also personally singled out for derision, not that the robust Yorkshireman was concerned at the time, nor will he be at White Hart Lane tomorrow should the Spurs fans do their worst.

"Fans calling me names doesn't bother me one iota," said McCarthy.

"Isn't it a strange phenomenon, though, I've never been called anything or abused by the opposition fans when we've been 3-0 down.

"At Fulham, wasn't it something to do with them trying to intimidate us and put us off?

"And they were only singing it because of what had been written and said in the media.

"I hope Tottenham (fans) are calling me all sorts tomorrow because it means we're playing well.

"But it's all water off a duck's back. Whether you like it or not is another matter to whether it affects you, and it doesn't affect me."

With Wolves appearing to be a soft target, it would be easy for McCarthy and his players to adopt a siege mentality at Molineux.

Whilst the current spotlight is an uncomfortable one, McCarthy is aware of how to handle it and to protect his players.

"I've always tried to concentrate on me, us and the team - my club," added McCarthy.

"That's why I don't get involved in tittle-tattle about anyone else. That's the way I'll continue to be.

"I'll try to manage the players and make sure that's the way they are as well.

"This is the first time this has ever happened to us and I think it will turn around again because I don't believe we're the sort of team people are trying to portray us as.

"They forget the way we played against West Ham and Villa away on TV last season when we were terrific.

"I guess hurricanes come along from time to time and what can you do about them? Not a great deal. Pick up and get on after it."

Given the furore surrounding Wolves, and in the wake of their first defeat of the season last weekend, McCarthy now has to ensure the minds of his players are focused on the task at hand.

Wolves at least have their two victories over Spurs last season to fall back on, although McCarthy feels that could be more of a hindrance than a help.

"We played well on both occasions. They were two good performances, but we will probably have to play even better than that to get something tomorrow," said McCarthy.

"When we went down there last season we'd not had a great start, were being tipped for relegation, so they didn't know what to expect from us and maybe we were a bit of a surprise.

"So after turning up and winning 1-0, I think they'll be better prepared, knowing we will not just roll over, have our bellies tickled and get beaten because that's not us.

"It will be a really tough game for us because they might just be waiting for us having taken six points off them last season."

Berra misses the game through suspension and is likely to be replaced by Richard Stearman.