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."