Mick McCarthy insists he can keep Wolverhampton Wandereres in the Premier League next season after his side clinched promotion with a 1-0 win over QPR.
McCarthy’s men have held one of the two Championship automatic promotion places since the third match of the season and they finally crossed the finish line on Saturday to return to the top-flight after a five-year absence.
It was leading scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, a former Manchester United trainee, who got the goal that sent Wolves up in front of a sell-out 27,000 crowd at Molineux.
But having failed to save Sunderland from bottom-of-the-table finishes in 2003 and 2006, McCarthy knows he has a point to prove among the big boys.
“Of course I do, given a sporting chance. If I’m given £6 million [US$8.9 million] to spend like I was last time, which included transfer fees, wages, signing on fees and agents fees then we’ll all be in trouble. But of course that won’t be the case,” he said.
“Last time I think I had a bit of naivety, I also think I had the usual ‘well, if that’s what I’ve got then I’ll do it’ arrogance to think I could,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t get bashed up, we didn’t get a lot of points, but I didn’t really get a chance.”
Ebanks-Blake’s 46th minute winner puts Wolves within touching distance of the league title as well, as they are now six points clear of second-placed Birmingham, with their goal difference 10 better than the Blues.
“I’m not sure I can articulate well enough how I’m feeling,” McCarthy said.
“I’m exhausted, I’m beaming on the inside, I’m absolutely thrilled by our achievements. I’m very proud of the players, they’ve been brilliant all season long.
“It doesn’t register, it doesn’t sink in. It’s not something you can really savor, you just enjoy the high of it for the moment and savor it when I wake up on Sunday,” he said.