Wolves are not vicious, says Berra

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The Independent Football

It has become commonplace to brand Wolves as a team of fierce brutality, and to consider some of their players too vicious in their tackling. Karl Henry, in particular, is under such scrutiny for the ferocity of his challenges that he has apologised to his team-mates for the foul on Jordi Gomez that saw him sent off against Wigan last weekend.

No defence can be made for an attempt to win the ball that was so blunt, so lacking in consideration for his fellow professional, that Gomez was sent spiralling into mid-air, like some piece of casual debris. Henry had already been criticised for the physical aggression he applied to the Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton earlier this season, while Bobby Zamora's leg was broken in another Henry challenge.

In the same game against Fulham last month, Christophe Berra was sent off for receiving two yellow cards, but the defender rejects the notion of his team being violently assertive. It is Wolves, he claims, who are now the victims.

"It's in the media that it has been highlighted," the Scotland international says. "I know Karl's not that type of player. Sometimes these things come in threes and it's one of those things that happen. The week before, we had a player out for six months because he got his shin broken, but there wasn'tmuch made of that, was there?

"Sometimes the spotlight is on you, and you've got to deal with it. Come and watch us, we're not a vicious team. I got a red card for two yellows, two body-checks, but that's football. Someone broke their leg in that game but that had been with a good tackle. That was just one of those things."

No side have received more yellow cards in the Premier League this season, although the dismissals of Berra and Henry are the only times Wolves player have been sent off. The concern for the club's players, and manager Mick McCarthy, is that referees begin to react to their standing as a dirty side and become more strict.

"You do wonder if you get a reputation with referees, but in the next month it could be another team that is getting the rap," says Berra. "Stoke had it before, others have had it. You just need to take it sometimes. We've only five points just now, but we can win a couple and be well up the table."