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McCarthy bristles at rough reception
Mick McCarthy believes Wolves are already suffering at the hands of officials after being cast as the "devil incarnate". Wolves were subjected to chants of "you're a disgrace to the Premiership" by traditionally reserved Fulham fans in their 2-1 defeat at Craven Cottage. Two weeks ago they were condemned for their role in a highly-physical draw with Newcastle but yesterday McCarthy's team faced a different accusation. Seven bookings, the last of which resulted in a red card for Christophe Berra, were issued by referee Phil Dowd for offences Fulham manager Mark Hughes later described as a "little bit cynical". The series of pulled shirts and obstructions incensed home fans still reeling from the departure of Bobby Zamora with a broken leg just above the ankle during a robust but legitimate tackle from Karl Henry. While Wolves' physicality was just about within the boundaries of acceptability, their spoiling tactics soured an otherwise entertaining contest. McCarthy, however, fears his team have been tainted to such an extent that they are being targeted unfairly by referees. "We're not overly physical. The worst two tackle were by Fulham players on Karl Henry and Steven Fletcher," he said. "Our bookings were trips. Michael Mancienne had a little tug at the shirt but if that's a booking.... "I'm not going to bemoan the bookings. I just don't want us to be labelled in a certain way so that officials are persuaded by that kind of attention. It cost us yesterday. "Suddenly we've become the devil incarnate. We had one game against Newcastle that was really tough and Match of the Day highlighted all the challenges. "But we watched the game on the following Monday and there were similar challenges being made on our lads. "It was a tough game but that brought it to everyone's attention. The tag given to us after that match is unfair. "It's media-led but now we've had the crowd singing we're 'a disgrace to the Premiership', which is completely untrue. "We practice all week at keeping the ball, not at winning it back because we do that particularly well." Hughes sympathises with McCarthy thanks to his spell as Blackburn manager between 2004-2008 when Rovers also trod a fine line. "Sometimes it's difficult to shake off a reputation when it's put on you," said Hughes. "That can be a real frustration because sometimes your play deserves more credit than people are giving it. "Sometimes people revert to type in terms of how they view the way in which you approach games. Maybe Mick's getting a little bit of that at the moment. "Wolves were involved in a really physical encounter against Newcastle, but it wasn't just Mick's side, it was both. "He should be judged on what happens over the course of the season but you should expect teams to compete in the Premier League." Wolves were competing admirably during a first half that was traumatising for Fulham. Having seen Jelle van Damme give Wolves a 10th-minute lead by prodding home Kevin Doyle's cross, they then had to contend with the departure of Zamora. But new signing Moussa Dembele came to the rescue by firing the equaliser and converting the injury-time free-kick won through the dismissal of Berra. Fulham should also have been given penalties at each end but the erratic Dowd was unmoved on both occasions.
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