John­son stands up for sacked boss Mccarthy

Midweek Sport - - SPORTS -

SKIP­PER Roger John­son in­sists the Wolves play­ers are to blame for the club’s cur­rent plight – not sacked man­ager Mick Mccarthy.

Mccarthy got the boot af­ter Wolves slipped into the bot­tom three fol­low­ing Sun­day’s 5-1 ham­mer­ing at home to West Brom.

But, when asked how much blame the play­ers should take for Wolves’ sit­u­a­tion, John­son said: “All of it. The man­ager can maybe take five to 10 per cent of the blame – the rest of it is down to us. We’ve let Mick down, we’ve let the club down and we’ve let our­selves down.”

John­son, who was rel­e­gated with Birm­ing­ham last sea­son be­fore be­ing signed by Mccarthy and given the cap­tain’s arm­band, be­lieves Wolves have got enough time to turn things around.

Trou­ble

“Thank­fully we’ve got enough games to get the points that will get us out of trou­ble,” he said.

“We prob­a­bly need six wins from 13 games and we have a good enough team to do that.”

Owner Steve Mor­gan is due back from a fam­ily hol­i­day to­mor­row to step up the search for Mccarthy’s re­place­ment.

Mor­gan and chief ex­ec­u­tive Jez Moxey are hop­ing to bring in a new man be­fore Wolves take on New­cas­tle in 11 days.

For­mer Charl­ton and West Ham boss Alan Cur­bish­ley is book­ies’ favourite af­ter in­di­cat­ing he’d be will­ing to talk to Mor­gan.

For­mer Sun­der­land man­ager Steve Bruce and EX-QPR boss Neil Warnock are also un­der­stood to be in­ter­ested should Mor­gan get in touch.

But if they opt for a short-term ap­point­ment un­til the end of the sea­son, Birm­ing­ham boss Chris Hughton could be­come a con­tender. IBRAHI­MOVIC is no­to­ri­ously poor against English op­po­si­tion, net­ting twice in 14 Cham­pi­ons Leagues games.

How­ever, both of those goals did come against the Gun­ners two sea­sons ago when he was play­ing for Barcelona.

Ver­mae­len was part of that Arse­nal de­fence which shipped two Ibrahi­movic goals in 2010 – and if the Swede’s poor record is to con­tinue it will likely be down to the at­ten­tions of the gi­ant cen­tre-back.

Ibrahi­movic should be well rested hav­ing missed Mi­lan’s 2-1 vic­tory over THI­AGO SILVA will be the man charged with the near-im­pos­si­ble task of keep­ing the Premier League’s lead­ing scorer un­der wraps.

The Brazil­ian was a per­ma­nent fix­ture in a Mi­lan de­fence which con­ceded an av­er­age of two goals a game in the Cham­pi­ons League group stages, but his speed and ath­leti­cism should en­sure Van Per­sie doesn’t have things all his own way tonight. ARTETA has flour­ished for the Gun­ners since his ar­rival from Ever­ton last Au­gust.

His pass­ing ac­cu­racy has rarely dipped be­low 90 per cent, but tonight he comes up against a player whose best as­set is the abil­ity to si­lence dan­ger­ous op­po­nents.

Veteran Dutch­man See­dorf has been used spar­ingly by Mi­lan, but the four-time Cham­pi­ons League win­ner was utilised in four group matches, and his ex­pe­ri­ence will be key to the Ros­soneri’s hopes of win­ning the mid­field bat­tle.

THOMAS VER­MAE­LEN v ZLA­TAN IBRAHI­MOVIC Udi­nese through sus­pen­sion and he is in good form with 15 league goals to his name this sea­son. ROBIN VAN PER­SIE

v THI­AGO SILVA FO­CUSED: Thierry Henry isn’t yet think­ing about his re­turn to New York

MIKEL ARTETA v CLARENCE SEE­DORF

BLAME GAME: John­son

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