Wolves dirty? That's rubbish, says McCarthy

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The Independent Football

The Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy has described as "a pile of nonsense" the bad publicity surrounding his under-fire club.

McCarthy's side have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after picking up 13 yellow cards and one red in their last two Premier League matches. Wolves collected seven bookings in the draw with Newcastle and then a further six and the red in Saturday's last-gasp defeat at Fulham, resulting in two separate fines from the Football Association totalling £75,000.

The issues surrounding Wolves have been further exacerbated by the fact that Fulham striker Bobby Zamora sustained a broken leg following a fair challenge from Karl Henry.

Although the critics have turned on Wolves, McCarthy sees no reason why his players should change their approach for Saturday's visit to Spurs, or for any other game. "What concerns me, and I've watched the game twice now, is that there wasn't a bad tackle in the game at Fulham," said McCarthy.

"Funnily enough I watched the Tottenham-Wigan game [on video] today and Phil Dowd [in charge at Fulham] was the referee in that, and I looked at some of the challenges and thought, 'We had bookings for those'. I've gone through the bookings and there wasn't a bad, malicious tackle, and there we are with six bookings and a sending-off. I know what I make of it, but what everybody else makes of it, I can't do anything about.

"We're not a dirty team, but at the moment it looks like we are because of circumstances. I try my best not to offend anybody, but if that's the way people want to perceive me and my team, there's not a great deal I can do about it.

"But it's wrong, a whole pile of nonsense actually, but such is life. It suits a lot of people to suggest Mick McCarthy's team is that way inclined, but I've never, ever been labelled with that.

"We will continue to play the way we have been playing. All my teams have always played football, or been competitive, and that's the way we will continue to be." With blunt sarcasm, McCarthy added: "Just look at my team and find me all those really nasty players we've got at the moment."

McCarthy concedes Henry has shown no ill-effects in training this week despite natural concern and disappointment at what unfolded with Zamora. "If you're involved in any such incident, as a fellow professional you're going to have great empathy, certainly sympathy towards him [Zamora]," said McCarthy.

"He [Henry] felt deeply for him, and I believe he has spoken to him, which I'd expect him to do. But it was a fantastic tackle, and there should be no blame or any fingers pointed at Karl, and I don't think there have been."

McCarthy has at least been heartened by the support received by Henry from Fulham manager Mark Hughes and midfielder Danny Murphy, even if there was anger from some quarters. "Those who tried to whip up a storm, they should be ashamed of themselves because Karl is a very honest player and didn't deserve that," McCarthy said. "But for people in the game who know, then it was a good tackle and no malice from Karl at all."