Monday, December 21, 2009

Mick McCarthy: Excellent management decision to make 10 changes

The decision made by Wolves manager Mick McCarthy to make ten changes ahead of playing Premier League Champions Manchester United was met with wide-spread derision and anger around the country. Many fans felt 'ripped-off' and 'cheated' by the decision, but today hopefully they are enlightened with the bravery and common sense of the changes.

On Monday Wolves are three points better off than they were last week following a two-nil defeat of Burnley, fellow relegation rivals. With seven points separating the bottom 11 teams, those three points were vital for Wolves. Big Mick knows what he is doing, he knows that he will on average (in our opinion), lose to Manchester United 8 or 9 times out of 10 . Given that they only play each other twice a year, the odds are stacked against Wolves, so he made a brave and sensible decision.

A couple of points here;

1 - He is the manager he can do what he wants. Why should the Premier League write to him to ask 'why'? What are they hoping is going to happen here?

2 - As the leader of a multi-million dollar group of assets you have to manage them in order to maximise your returns. If we look at the last two games as a single entity; vs Man United and vs Burnley, what is the best outcome for Wolves? I would say it is 3 points. Maybe they could have scraped 4 points if Manchester United had an off day. McCarthy did the maths, he figured the best way to get maximum return from these two games given the assets at his disposal was to make ten changes for the United game. And he was proven correct.

Wolves are now lying 12th in the Premier League but face a difficult trip to Liverpool on Boxing Day and then have Manchester City at home on the 29th. Gaining three points before Christmas was vital to Wolves, McCarthy understood this and managed his squad correctly.

We certainly applaud him for his decisions and hope that fans understand that staying in the Premier League is more important that putting in a good performance at Old Trafford.


  1. If you think that resting ten players was the only way to get maximum return and maximum return was three points your are right.

    But maximum return for me in two games will always be six points. Everytbody says that McCarthy is vindicated and that he did the right thing. How come? We still lost three points to a totally out of form United with lots of injurys. And we almost did that on purpose, while playing a second team.

    Maximising the return would be resting a few of the players and letting the rest have a go against United. Five days of rest after that game would be enough in any scientific view to be totally rested for the Burnley game.

    I am a big supporter of Wolves and admire much of what McCarthy has done for the club, but he makes some mistakes as well. This was one of them.

  2. Paddytheflea - thank you for comments.

    While I agree that 5 days does seem like enough time for any professional athlete to recover perhaps he felt like many first choice players need a break so they are fresh for the games over the xmas break where a few days extra rest in mid-december could pay dividends at the end of december and beginning of January? Only time will tell I guess.

    By the way, if you were to take 3 points from every two games this season you will get 57 points - enough for 7th last year.

    Lets be serious, while it is possible for Wolves to achieve 3 points every game it is not going to happen. Its better to take a long term view and look at fixtures in bunches and examine from that perspective, which is clearly what McCarthy did.

    Additionally, an out of form United is still at least 30 points a season better than Wolves (and most other teams in the league).

  3. I think the fact that Burnley had three players substituted from injury further vindicates Mick's decision.

    We, the Wolves, unlike Birmingham and Burnley have had up to 14 players injured, including player of the year, our most expensive signing etc., and I think Birmingham and Burnley will start to pick up injuries now.

    Championship games can be played at 75% effort for some of the better players, but this is not the case in the Premier League.

    The strategy was a positive, the Public Relations bi-product, a negative!