Protected by a flying start to the season, Wolves have amassed an unenviable record of late, culminating on Sunday with a defeat to West B**m to complete an unmatched run of 5 straight losses – their worst run since 1984.
Many fans are baying for McCarthy’s head and performances have been worse than most last season, with the notable exception of some decent spells against Liverpool, Spurs and Newcastle, against whom we deserved at least a point, and would have got it were it not for the sterling work of Mike Halsey and his boss-eyed assistants.
Perhaps it’s my own streak of that McCarthy stubbornness that makes me say this, but Mick deserves longer to prove people wrong.
That his record at this club – in the Championship and the top flight is better than any Wolves manager of the last 30 years speaks for itself. We are in our third Premier League season, and not the only team to find it doesn’t get any easier. McCarthy has built a sound Premier League team with relatively modest resources (still primarily from the best of a Championship winning team, but I’ve no problem with that). Of late there seems to be some frustration in the ranks, but there’s still no doubting McCarthy’s ability to get the best from good hard-working players (I’ll save the debate about whether he can get the same from less hard-working but more creative players, as that’s not what we have). His players are underperforming in whatever tactical formation they play. This will change. Johnson has clearly yet to settle, and there’s no reason to believe that the rest of the team are suddenly worse players than they have been in recent years. I wanted Hammil to play on Sunday – he did and he was as average as the rest of the team, Ward excepted again – but that’s no reason to think he or the rest of the team are no longer good enough. Seven points from eight games sees us in 16th position. Had those points been spread more evenly over the eight games, I’d be feeling dissatisfied but not panicked.
With good early results against poor opposition we did flatter to deceive; results since against average-going-on-good opposition have been poor. Of course this has to end – and soon. The below results, give or take a couple of points, are both achieveable and important, and would see us in solid mid-table form. Nothing more can be expected, slightly less is more realistic. Early results might have raised expectations that signing two decent players over the summer might have somehow turned us into something more, but the club continues its course of steady and safe investment, which will prove to be the best course as more teams implode in a futile attempt to stay near the biggest spenders.
Man City 0pts
Fail to achieve that – fail to address last season’s pattern of being very nearly good enough – and I might just change my mind, but right now, there is no reason to do that.