Wolves Vs Manchester United, Sat 5 Feb 2011

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Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has said Ronald Zubar will start against Manchester United this weekend, despite committing an horrendous injury-time error that cost his team the match at Bolton in midweek.

Zubar tried to play the ball back to goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in the 93rd minute, but the pass was intercepted by Daniel Sturridge, who coolly slid the ball into the net.

The goal left McCarthy furious, especially as his team had deserved a point for their overall display.

However, McCarthy confirmed that Zubar has responded well in training, and will not pay for his mistake by losing his place in the starting 11, even if the idea did cross the former Sunderland boss's mind

"I did have thoughts about it," he said. "I had a conversation with him today, but he's been terrific for us.

"He is okay, I'm certain he is having chatted to him. I've got to support him, that's the other side of it.

"I wanted to kill him on Wednesday night, but he's one of my players and he puts in a shift."

McCarthy was quick to remove the finger of blame from over Zubar, stating that everyone involved with the team has off days.

He said: "Do you think he's the only one who's made a mistake?

"I don't think so. There's only one bloke that's never made a mistake and we know what happened to him.

"We're all fallible aren't we?

"We're all liable to make a mistake at some stage, and what do you do then? Just cast him out to one side and that's him done?

"We'll support him and try and get the best out of him because in doing that I believe I will get the best out of him."

McCarthy said he has resisted the temptation to take Zubar out of the firing line, even though he has a ready-made replacement in Kevin Foley.

He said: "It's easy when someone just makes a mistake and it's glaringly obvious, to leave them out of the side.

"But if I did that every time, I'd be chopping and changing my team on a regular basis.

"There has to be a level of support from the manager for his players.

"When they've had a tough time, you put an arm around them and say 'come on, let's get back to where you were'.

"I think that's what I have to do.

"Individual errors have cost us. Tactical errors as well, sometimes, I'm certain."

Wolves have lost twice against Manchester United this season, conceding crucial late goals in both cases, and McCarthy has called on his players to maintain their focus right until the final whistle.

He said: "We need to concentrate right to the very end, certainly tomorrow, because it's happened twice against Manchester United.

"But if we play as well as we have against them in the past, it should be a very interesting game."


Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson wants Wayne Rooney to regain the consistency that saw him score 34 goals last season.

While the England striker's work-rate has not been in question this season, he has struggled to regularly find the target.

However, a brace in the victory against Aston Villa on Tuesday, only his fourth and fifth goals of the campaign, suggest he could be ready to kick on.

That could spell bad news for bottom-club Wolves who face the unbeaten Barclays Premier League leaders at Molineux on Saturday.

Ferguson said: "Hopefully - and there's every chance with scoring the kind of goals he scored the other night - he'll take off.

"Goalscorers are like that and hopefully that's what we're going to see with Wayne. He's got 14 league games, European games and FA Cup games - he could easily get a good average.

"Last season he was very consistent - in previous years he has scored in clutches of five or six games. But if he can get the consistency of last season then we are going to benefit from that."

With Dimitar Berbatov scoring regularly and new recruit Javier Hernandez chipping in as well with some vital goals, some of the heat has been taken off Rooney.

Ferguson, though, stresses that there is much more to Rooney's game than just goals.

"What Wayne has always had is a fantastic energy to play in a game," said the United boss.

"He's always committed to doing his best. The bonus is, as we saw the other night, he got two goals."

United are looking to stretch their unbeaten run to 30 league games stretching back to last season - a club record - but according to Darren Fletcher regaining the title is the detail that counts.

"It has been a rollercoaster. There have been times when we've thought it (the run) was gone and then we've come back late in games," said the Scotland midfielder.

"Everyone keeps talking about the unbeaten run. It's fantastic and gives you confidence knowing you're on this run and looking to set a new club record.

"But the most important thing - the thing all the players are focused on and bothered about - is winning the league. We'd rather have that than maintaining an unbeaten run."

Not that Fletcher is taking Wolves lightly. McCarthy's side lost to Bolton in midweek but only after a late Daniel Sturridge goal.

Fletcher said: "People might not expect us to lose at Wolves but we have got to be very cautious.

"The performances they have produced haven't really got them the points they deserve. I think they have been mighty unlucky in a lot of games.

"They've had some good results against the bigger teams like Liverpool and Chelsea. We know it's going to be a very difficult match.

"Five or six years ago we experienced a loss at Wolves when we were sitting top of the league, so it just goes to show that you have to be wary and be on top of your game."

Fletcher has declared himself fit for the match after going off in the Villa match with an eye injury.

He said: "I am fine. All the vision has come back and I trained this morning. So I am available for selection and looking forward to the match."

Rafael is also in contention after recovering from a bout of concussion during the victory over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.


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