'Streetwise' Wolves encourage McCarthy
Mick McCarthy insists he never lost faith in Wolves' ability to survive in the Premier League and believes they have become "more streetwise." Wolves are on the verge of securing another season in the top flight ahead of Saturday's clash with Europa League semi-finalists Fulham at Craven Cottage. It was a different story in late November when Wolves were beaten at home by Birmingham after an inept display and dropped to second from bottom. But McCarthy never pressed the panic button and remained calm in the knowledge his players were good enough to finish outside of the relegation places. They are currently six points above the drop zone with four games remaining and have a superior goal difference. McCarthy said: "It's amazing how many happy faces there are around because we are six points clear of the bottom three at this moment. "But when we were in the bottom three did you detect any anxiety from me? I don't think so. I tried to stay calm and said 'let's see how many points we end up with.' "When we lost to Birmingham at home, I was still full of belief and convinced we'd get the points to stay up. "I didn't like certain comments I heard about us that were floating around, that we just work hard and run about, as if that is what you get from teams who are promoted. "I would like to think that what people think of us is slightly different in that we do pass the ball around and do more than compete. "If you allow outside influences to affect your thinking, than you will suffer but within these walls there was a calm and self confidence that we can stay in this league - although we have still got work to do." McCarthy has seen his side grow in stature after being short of top-flight experience following their promotion as Championship winners. He said: "The players have become more streetwise in terms of knowing what is needed to win at Premier League level. If they are not going to get wiser, then you are going to have a problem. "Remember, we had something like only 200 Premier League appearances in total between the squad from the likes of Kevin Doyle, Marcus Hahnemann and David Jones. "They have all gradually improved and got better." McCarthy still has his feet on the ground in terms of taking nothing and he has nothing but admiration for the success Roy Hodgson has experienced at Fulham. He said: "We have got a good opportunity to stay up with four games remaining. I would have preferred to be safe with five or six games to go before but would have taken this situation before Christmas. "But, as soon as you start believing you are safe, a couple of results go against you, and then you start to sweat again. It is about maintaining the intensity that we have shown all season. "There is a consistency about us that I hope remains. There is an understanding about the shape of the team and how it makes us harder to beat. There is a trust in it and we are not wavering from that. "But we know how well Fulham have done and Roy Hodgson has done a terrific job in his two years there. They are having a brilliant season ans they have a very experienced and accomplished squad." McCarthy has no fresh injury problems as Wolves look to build on a run of one defeat in six games which have yielded nine points. But skipper Karl Henry is again suspended following his sending-off against Arsenal a fortnight ago.
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