Over the weekend I was particularly impressed with how Mick McCarthy handled himself and his team after a poor first half at Goodison. Being away from home and being dominated from the first whistle is usually a sign of an easy win for the home side.
You'd have to say that Everton fully deserved their 1-0 lead at half time. How Lee Mason gave a free-kick for a foul so clearly inside the area is beyond me and had George Elokobi not been robbed by Tim Cahill for the opener, Moyes may have had more than a few choice words for the referee at come the half-time whistle.
McCarthy was then able to re-think and re-focus his players. It was almost a different side that walked out in the second half. Mick had obviously said the right things in the dressing room; Wolves returned as their stubborn selves - getting behind the ball, making important tackles in midfield and frustrating the home side and, just as importantly, the fans.
Goodison fell silent as Kevin Doyle swept down the right and squared for Adlene Guedioura - his well-timed miss-kick allowed Sylvain Ebanks-Blake to bury his first of the season. Point secured; job done; shut up shop - something Wolves have excelled at since their return to the top flight. No surprise, then, that Everton ended the game frustrated, with only a share of the points.
After the game, McCarthy shouldered the blame for the first half performance. I like that attitude; having made such a good start to the season, lambasting your players for 45 minutes of lacklustre football would be counter-productive. Take the pressure off them, congratulate them for taking a hard-earned point and keep the positivity for the next Premier League game at home to Newcastle.
With a few really tough fixtures ahead, Wolves will need all of McCarthy's smarts to keep themselves from dropping down the league. But with so much experience managing teams in similar positions, there's no-one else you'd want to be leading the club forward.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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