The Serbian skipper might have left Molineux gasping at the exquisitely-struck left-foot drive that cranked up the pressure on Gary Megson. But to him it was nothing new.
Milijas was supposed to be Wolves' blue riband signing last summer. At £2.6million, it wasn't the most expensive purchase in English football. But Red Star Belgrade are not one of the top names in the Balkans for nothing. And to capture the Serbian skipper for such a fee looked a good piece of business.
A Red Star is born: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Serbian midfielder Nenad Milijas (centre, hidden) is congratulated by his team-mates after scoring
WORLD CUP WATCHNenad Milijas apart, two fringe players had differingdays. Veteran US keeper Marcus Hahnemann impressed with two saves fromIvan Klasnic and Matt Taylor, the second of which was of the highestquality.
Gary Cahill did nothing to suggest he is the man to step in at centre-half for England.
However, after starting brightly, Milijas's star faded in the eyes of his manager. Milijas admitted: 'It was an important goal for me, but at my previous club I scored a lot of goals like this.
'It's harder and different this football and I think the goal will give me a lot of confidence in the games coming up. But this is normal. I have scored many goals like that. Many, many. Last year, I scored 22, I think.
On the scoresheet: Wolves' £2.6m signing Milijas
'It was an easier division, but I scored many goals like the one today. I've always thought I'm ready to play here, but I'm happy when I play 20 minutes or 30 minutes or the whole game.'
And, in a refreshing twist, he was asked whether he needed to be playing regular, first-team football to be on board the plane bound for the World Cup.
'No, I don't have that problem,' he said. 'I need to train well and be fit and healthy. That's the most important thing for me. I just want to give 100 per cent of myself but if I'm not playing, I don't think it's so much of a problem. I have played well for my national team in the past.'
Certainly the delivery for Jody Craddock's goal - his fourth in five games after a five-year span without hitting the net - and the solo effort were welcome indeed for McCarthy who saw the storm clouds transfer from his own head and settle above Megson's.
MATCH STATSWOLVES: (4-4-2) Hahnemann 7, Stearman 6, Craddock 6, Berra 6, Ward 7; Edwards 6, (Mancienne 85mins) Milijas 8, Henry 6, Jarvis 6; Ebanks-Blake 5 (Maierhofer 81), Doyle 6. Subs: Hennessey, Keogh, Surman, Foley, Castillo. Booking: Stearman.
BOLTON: (4-5-1) Jaaskelainen 6, Steinsson 6, Cahill 5, O'Brien 5, Samuel 4 (Elmander 71, 6); Lee 6, McCann 5, Gardner 5, Cohen 4, Taylor 6; Klasnic 6. Subs: Al Habsi, Ricketts, Davies, Knight, Obadeyi, Muamba. Booking: McCann.
Referee: Chris Foy.
Man of the match: Nenad Milijas.
It was only American keeper Marcus Hahnemann that prevented the visitors from grabbing an equaliser after Johan Elmander's scrappy effort set-up a frantic finale.
'We've got 24 games left,' said Matt Tayor. 'That's two-thirds of the season to go and plenty of points to play for.
'I've been stressing that there's not a crisis at the club. We're not points adrift at the bottom, we've got two very important games in the next 10-11 days, I think it's three in a week. If we do well then we're back out of it and everyone says: "What's the problem?"
'There isn't a problem, there are no bad eggs at this club. It's not for me to comment on supporters and their opinions.'
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