Brendan Rodgers is where Mick McCarthy was three years ago. He never wants to be where McCarthy is now: unloved and under fire from supporters who once sang his praises but now spit venom.
The vitriol directed at McCarthy as Swansea went 2-0 up through goals from Danny Graham and Joe Allen and seemed on course to inflict a sixth successive defeat was so intense that it "astonished" Rodgers, who defended his counterpart. Rodgers enjoys hero status among Swansea fans for guiding them to the Premier League with style, which is what McCarthy achieved with Wolves three season ago. Rodgers said the Welsh club's fans would never be so uncouth as to turn on him as bitterly as those Wolverhampton Wanderers fans did on McCarthy.
"Mick McCarthy in the last five years has given his club everything," Rodgers said. "He works hard every day to put out a competitive team to keep them in the league and he's succeeded in doing that for the last three [years] so I find it astonishing that he gets that amount of stick."
On Saturday the scorn was fiercest when McCarthy decided to take off his two wingers, Matt Jarvis and Adam Hammill, in the 68th minute with his team trailing. Cries of "You don't know what you're doing" and "You're getting sacked in the morning" were among the more savoury.
"Mick has made the decisions that took them out of the Championship and established them as a Premier League club so to show him that disrespect when he's trying to make change to affect the game is sad," Rodgers said. "Thankfully the Swansea supporters … well, I wouldn't believe they'd ever stand there and sing stuff like that."
Rodgers attributed Wolves' goals, in the last six minutes from Kevin Doyle and Jamie O'Hara, to his own team. "We have to learn to manage the game better and close it out," he said.
He clarified what that meant, lest anyone fear that pressure for results could lead him to abandon his slick and enterprising philosophy. Indeed, his angriest outburst here came midway through the second half when his side were two up and Nathan Dyer gave away possession with a careless backheel in the Wolves half.
"I wasn't happy with that, we were in an attacking position, we started passing backwards too often," said Rodgers. "We decide our identity and we defend our principles and we hope it's entertaining for our supporters but we've proven that it wins games too. The best way to defend [is to] keep the ball. That's not negative. It's about tactical discipline. At home we are top class; we have to learn to keep doing it away. And we will. Because these players have shown that they keep on improving."
This was Swansea's first away point. They look equipped to get many more.
Man of the match Mark Gower (Swansea City)