Back to basics for McCarthy

The Midlands club remain in the Premier League relegation zone

after being defeated 3-2 at Molineux by Bolton on Saturday. The

hosts carved out several good opportunities in the opening period

but shot themselves in the foot – as they had in their previous

game – by conceding a goal in the first minute, Richard Stearman

heading past his own goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. Second-half

strikes from Johan Elmander and Stuart Holden then gave Bolton a

3-0 lead, and although Kevin Foley and Steven Fletcher swiftly

reduced the deficit, McCarthy’s men were unable to find an

equaliser before the final whistle. Wolves have earned plaudits for

their performances in recent weeks but are yet to keep a single

clean sheet this term, something the manager knows must be

addressed. “I think we have to make sure we keep a clean sheet,

however that may be,” said McCarthy, whose side have only two

victories and nine points from 13 league games so far. “Let’s stay

in the game to start with. We have played some great football and

created loads of chances but we have conceded three goals. “We

might have to just start at basics and make sure we keep a clean

sheet.” Wolves went into the contest off the back of a high-profile

sequence of fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester

United and Arsenal, but McCarthy insisted the prospect of Bolton –

who moved up to fifth in the table – had not been underestimated.

“I thought this was a harder game – and I said that to the players

in the week – because of the danger that people expect us to win

it,” McCarthy said. “They are a very good team, on-form at the

minute, so it was always going to be a hard game – and it was made

increasingly hard by conceding a goal after 50 seconds.” McCarthy’s

opposite number Owen Coyle expressed his confidence that Wolves

will start picking up points. “Wolves are a far better side than

their league position suggests and that will turn for them, there

is no doubt,” Coyle said. “They just have to keep banging away on

that door, but I have to look after Bolton Wanderers, and it was an

important win for us.”