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Struggling Wolves fire manager McCarthy

Updated: February 13, 2012, 07:03

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2011 file photo, Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy walks from the pitch after his team's 4-1 loss at Manchester United in their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England. Wolverhampton Wanderers fired manager Mick McCarthy, the club said in a statement released Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)

WOLVERHAMPTON, England(AP) Wolverhampton Wanderers fired manager Mick McCarthy on Monday, a day after a humiliating drubbing by its local rival left the club fighting to preserve its Premier League status.

The former Ireland coach's final match in charge of Wolves was Sunday's 5-1 home loss to fellow Midlands team West Bromwich Albion, a fifth straight home defeat that plunged the team back into the relegation zone with 13 matches remaining this season.

McCarthy, who joined Wolves in 2006, became the third manager to lose his job in the Premier League this season - after Steve Bruce at Sunderland in December and Neil Warnock at Queens Park Rangers last month.

"The board took the difficult decision to terminate Mick's contract after a run of form which has seen Wolves pick up only 14 points from the last 22 league games,'' Wolves said in a statement.

McCarthy, who played 57 times for Ireland and coached his national team at the 2002 World Cup, took charge of Wolves when they were in the second-tier League Championship and led them to promotion in 2009.

Wolves is currently 18th in the 20-team standings, two points above bottom team Wigan.

"The board would like to place on record their sincere thanks and appreciation to Mick McCarthy and he leaves with the very best wishes,'' Wolves said.

McCarthy, who was a tough-tackling defender as a player and is renowned for his bluntness and honesty as a manager, apologized Sunday for the team's lackluster display against West Brom at Molineux, which led to a small demonstration by fans after the game.

"The saddest part is that we capitulated, which I have never seen my team do - not really,'' McCarthy said. "That's not us.

"I have never apologized for a performance but would do for that as I know what it means to everybody.''

Terry Connor, Wolves assistant manager, will take charge of the first team while the club searches for McCarthy's replacement.

British bookmakers installed former Liverpool and Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez and Alan Curbishley, who managed West Ham between 2006-08, as the favorites to replace McCarthy.

Wolves, who only secured their Premier League status last season on the final weekend, have the Premier League's leakiest defense at home and have been over-reliant on goals from top scorer Steven Fletcher.

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