Gianfranco Zola told West Ham's furious fans to blame him and not the players after last night's 3-1 defeat to Wolves plunged the Hammers deeper into relegation trouble.
Kevin Doyle set Wolves on their way before Ronald Zubar and Matthew Jarvis struck inside three second-half minutes to lift Wolves seven points clear of danger.
Guillermo Franco came off the bench to score in injury time for West Ham but it was the hollowest of consolation goals.
The Hammers are perched perilously just three points above the relegation zone but they are beginning to look doomed.
The Upton Park crowd voiced their anger with chants of "you're not fit to wear the shirt" - but Zola insisted the fans direct any frustration in his direction.
"I think that chant is a little unfair because the players they tried everything," said Zola.
"The players did their best but in a disjointed way and it made it very difficult for us. They played as individuals.
"That is very, very painful for me because it is my duty to correct it. The team is not playing very well and I take responsibility for that.
"If (the fans) want to pick up on somebody they must pick up on me because I am responsible.
"If they want to chant something they must chant about me. They have to leave the players because they belong to West Ham, they are working for West Ham and they are committed to West Ham.
"If they want to pick up on somebody they must pick up on me.
"Last year when we were playing well, I was getting compliments. I took the compliments, I can take the criticism as well. But they should leave the players.
"The players need to be confident when they take the field. My concern is the team and I have to make sure they react in the right way. I have a long night in front of me to think about that."
West Ham crumbled after Doyle pounced on a defensive howler from James Tomkins and Wolves fed off the growing dissatisfaction in the crowd.
"We didn't expect to come here and win 3-1 and be as comfortable as we were at times," said McCarthy.
"If it had been at Wolves and conceded it would have been similar, we would have had a nervy crowd on our backs. It is the same wherever you go and we knew that and we played on it, of course we did."
This was Wolves' biggest away win in the top flight since November 1983, when they beat West Brom 3-1, and could prove a pivotal moment in the club's bid for survival.
McCarthy said: "We have not sewn anything up yet but we have gone a long way towards helping out.
"The scoreline didn't flatter us. We played very well tonight and deserved that victory. I don't think anyone could disagree with that.
"It was a vital win for us in terms of us concerteenering the league above us a little bit more and doing damage to West Ham.
"Burnley and Hull were thinking 'we were going to catch Wolves'. They might just be thinking 'we might catch Wigan and West Ham now'.
"They might be looking at us and thinking 'they have done real damage to us, there are not as many we can catch any more'.
"I hope that is what they are thinking."Reuse content