MANCHESTER UNITED moved level on points with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table – but the spotlight was focused on Wolves chief Mick McCarthy for his controversial team selection.
McCarthy made no fewer than 10 changes from the side which surprisingly beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday, prompting an angry reaction from travelling fans.
Chants of “we want our money back”, “where is our first team?” and “£40 to watch the reserves” were bellowed towards under-fire McCarthy, with goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann the only survivor from Saturday’s heroic victory.
That was music to the ears of United boss Sir Alex Ferguson whose side cruised to an important victory which buried the memories of Saturday’s disappointing home defeat to Aston Villa.
“That was the best team available to me tonight because it was fresh legs and I thought we were as competitive tonight as we were against Chelsea and Arsenal,” McCarthy later claimed. “I can understand why people might not be too happy, but I’ve got a squad of players to pick from and they are all first team players.”
Ferguson, presiding over his 900th league game, saw his side take the lead from the penalty spot through Wayne Rooney after Ronald Zubar handled Darron Gibson’s corner, before Nemanja Vidic made it 2-0 just before the break from the same set-piece.
Antonio Valencia then fired home the third midway through the second half to complete an easy night’s work for United as Wolves, clearly saving themselves for Sunday’s visit of fellow strugglers Burnley, capitulated.
Wolves can no longer be punished by the the Premier League for fielding a weakened team but McCarthy will feel no better by the sight of his side rooted to the foot of the Premier League table this morning.