McCarthy denies United demise

Dumped out of the Champions League in midweek and with skipper

Nemanja Vidic ruled out for the rest of the season through injury,

United are on the ropes. Not for the first time, their response to

such a predicament was to come out swinging. And with Nani and

Wayne Rooney both bagging their first league goals since September,

they were able to record a win that closed the gap on Manchester

City to two points ahead of the Blues’ showdown with Chelsea at

Stamford Bridge on Monday night. “I don’t look at Manchester United

in a different way,” said McCarthy. “I can’t remember when

Manchester United, at Old Trafford, was an easy task. “All the hype

and talk about their demise is nonsense. “They have had a tough

couple of results. They have been knocked out of the Champions

League. “But they will get back again because they have got really

good players and a whole load of young players, who are

developing.” Not that McCarthy, who has endured plenty of criticism

himself this season, could fail to manage a wry smile at the

thought of Ferguson being under pressure. “I am not surprised by

that at all,” he said. “He is not immune. It is kind of refreshing

when the best managers are under pressure and getting stick. It

makes me feel a whole lot better. “I would imagine when you walk

into this place, or any of the top clubs, there is instant

pressure. You have to live with it. “He has done it better than any

manager and will continue to work at it. “He has had a tough time.

It happens. It is cyclical. You can’t always be a success. “You

have to change things and constantly work at it. He has been better

than anybody else at changing team after team after team and

constantly being the top dog. “But you still have to have some

tough results from time to time.” Ferguson has made a point of

stressing he retains total confidence in his squad. And with Rooney

in particular back on the scoresheet again, taking his tally to 11,

having scored nine in his first six games, the United boss can talk

optimistically about what lies ahead. “Wayne in particular, does go

in spurts,” he said. “He scored nine in the early part of the

season. Now we are going up to an important part of the season, if

we get the goal ratio again, it puts us in good fettle.” Ferguson

was delighted with the response of his players, arguing that for

some, the shattering Champions League experience will turn out to

be a positive. “We will take a lot of stick from critics and even

from people we thought were perhaps on our side,” he said. “This

was the right response. Some of the football was fantastic.” Two

seasons ago, McCarthy was fined £25,000 for fielding a

weakened team in the corresponding fixture, which Wolves lost 3-0.

He clearly has not forgotten. “That is what you get when you put

your full-strength team out against them,” he said, when asked

about today’s result. “I was happy with the performance. “We played

4-4-2 against a team who are better than us, who have better

players than us and are a bigger club than us. “And, unfortunately,

we got turned over.”