Well, that was certainly a bitter pill to swallow wasn’t it?
After four pretty decent performances in their opening Premiership matches, Wolves looked far more out of their depth against a Blackburn side that could and should have ran out more convincing winners.
We can perhaps feel a little hard done by in that their third goal from David Dunn was offside and we were also denied what looked to be a pretty good shout for handball and a penalty. We squandered the odd chance as well, with Christophe Berra missing a golden opportunity to open the scoring early doors and Keogh hitting an air shot when it looked easier to score.
But none of that does anything to disguise what was an uninspired attacking performance and a shambolic defensive showing, which makes me fearful of how we’ll cope moving forward.
Of course we weren’t helped by a significant reshuffle of our back four. With Craddock already out injured, both Elokobi and Zubar were late for a team meeting prior to kick-off and subsequently left out as punishment. That meant Matt Hill was handed a shock promotion straight into the starting XI.
Now, I’m not for one second blaming Hill for the team’s inability to defend. In fact, by all accounts it sounded like he was our best player yesterday, but you simply can’t afford to make such wholesale changes to a defensive line and not expect repercussions. Berra and Mancienne had never played together before, so to also throw Hill in at the deep end, was naive on McCarthy’s part in my opinion. I mean, when you looked at that back four yesterday, we basically had a make-shift right-back, two inexperienced centre-halves and a left-back getting his first taste of Premiership football. Hardly ideal.
And it showed as well with defensive mishaps leading to at least two of Blackburn’s three goals.
The midfield didn’t look much better either. Henry was partly to blame for the opening goal and well under par throughout, Milijas and Halford seemed to offer very little and Jarvis simply wasn’t given a sniff. The same could be said for Doyle and Keogh, who were given no service and struggled to create anything on the rare occasions they got near the ball.
In fact, most of yesterday’s positives came from the bench, with Dave Edwards making a strong claim for a starting role with a typically committed performance and ‘The Hoff’ opening his account and generally making a nuisance of himself during his second-half cameo.
The chilling reality is that the team that took to the field yesterday was never going to be good enough to cope and McCarthy must therefore take a big portion of the blame for his selection. Of course we had players missing, but for me Halford should have been moved to right-back, with Stearman moving inside to partner Mancienne. Bringing both Berra and Hill in from the cold was a step too far and cost us badly.
I just hope by next week, we’ve regrouped and gained a couple of players back from the clutches of the injury table, because yesterday we looked like a team that desperately needed reinforcements.