McCarthy is concerned when he switches on television to find Wolves no longer being touted as candidates for the drop back into the Championship.
Wolves are currently five points above the bottom three with five games remaining ahead of Sunday's clash with Stoke at Molineux.
But McCarthy believes Wolves still need at least two more wins to ensure they will be playing top-flight football again next season.
McCarthy said: "We need two wins at least to keep us going. We need to keep the intensity up, not to take our foot off the gas.
"I don't want to be involved in a relegation dogfight - but we definitely are.
"If we get 38 points, we'd have achieved a point a game for the season although things can get silly at this time of the season with teams getting results from nowhere.
"A bad result for us, a couple of good results elsewhere for the other teams, and suddenly it all turns around. We cannot take our focus away from picking up the points."
McCarthy added: "When I see people talking on TV about the relegation run-in, Bolton, Wigan, others are mentioned, but they are not mentioning us and that concerns me.
"I won't allow the players to lose focus. I don't want a cosy atmosphere around the place. We need more points. We've done nothing yet.
"I like the adrenalin rush, having butterflies going around in your stomach and everyone keeping on their toes to make sure we get the right result.
"If we just slacken off at all, we will get punished and we will certainly get punished by Stoke who are a good Premier League outfit."
McCarthy is good friends with Stoke boss Tony Pulis and believes he deserves greater credit for the job he has achieved at the Britannia Stadium.
He said: "I speak to Tony quite regularly. I spoke to him when we first went up into the Premier League and asked him what he thought.
"He has done an outstanding job and is much maligned. They are a far better team than people give him credit for.
"They have played really well this season, they have a weapon, the long throw, and why not use it? It is fantastic.
"We have the same beliefs and ideas on the way things should be done and, for me, if you don't work hard and don't run around, you don't play, simple as that."
Wolves will be without skipper Karl Henry as he begins a three-match suspension for his sending-off against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last weekend.
McCarthy confirmed Wolves will not be appealing against the red card out of fear of the ban being extended to four games.
He said: "I decided not to appeal because of the risk of a four-match rather than three.
"I thought that would be the more likely outcome as it has got to be seen as a real serious mistake (by the official) and it was open for interpretation on the day."
Adlene Guedioura, Nenad Milijas and David Edwards will come into contention to replace Henry.