Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Wolves bite back but will play ball

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy

Wolverhampton Wanderers will tell the Premier League investigation into Mick McCarthy's controversial decision to field a weakened team against Manchester United on Tuesday night that it was a one-off and will not be repeated against other top opposition.

The Wolves manager came under pressure from the Premier League yesterday who announced that they would ask the club to explain McCarthy's actions — at Old Trafford he dropped 10 players from the Wolves side that beat Tottenham on Saturday — with a view to deciding whether he has broken two key league rules.

It is understood that the Wolves board, including owner and chairman Steve Morgan, were not told in advance by McCarthy that he intended to field a weakened team. However, the board, led by chief executive Jez Moxey, yesterday stood behind their manager and defended his right to pick the team that he thought was in the best interest of the club.

The club are confident that McCarthy's team selection will not result in a punishment from the Premier League who will examine Wolves' conduct in relation to two rules: E20, which requires clubs to play their full-strength XI and B13, that requires them to act “in good faith” to the league and their fellow clubs.

The Premier League executive are most concerned that Wolves' approach of dropping top players for difficult away games does not become a habit.

Privately Wolves feel that McCarthy might have gone too far in changing every one of his outfield players from Saturday. However, the board do not want to be in a position in which they are seen to be dictating selection policy to their manager.

He was trying to keep players fresh to face Burnley on Sunday, a game that could be crucial to Wolves' survival in the Premier League.

Moxey said that the club were taking the Premier League “very seriously” and that it was Wolves' “overriding ambition to stay in the division this season and consolidate”.

“This is the main priority for Mick this season and he picks a team for each and every game to not only try to get a positive result but also with the whole season in mind.

“I would also take issue with the suggestion that the team was a reserve XI.

“The starting line-up contained four full international and a further three under-21 internationals and was captained by Kevin Foley last year's players of the season.”

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