Mick McCarthy’s decision to rest all ten of his outfield players at Old Trafford last week was vindicated as his returning players came up trumps to see off fellow relegation scrappers Burnley with a 2-0 win at Molineux.

First Nenad Milijas tapped in after Brian Jensen’s poor parry and then Kevin Doyle took advantage of panic in the Burnley defence to seal the points early in the second half.

It was once again shocking defending that cost the Lancastrians. Clarke Carlisle dallied instead of clearing and was robbed by Doyle by the corner flag. Doyle ran on unchallenged and played in Matt Jarvis, who hit a shot that was too hot for Jensen to hold. Serbian midfielder Milijas was on hand to knock in the rebound from ten yards and Wolves never looked back. The win takes them up into mid-table, above Burnley.

Doyle should have added a second immediately but found Jensen making amends for his earlier error with a quite brilliant instinctive stop. Doyle was a clear three yards offside but the linesman bafflingly allowed play to continue.

And early in the second half, although the Clarets had started brightly after the interval and substitute Michael Duff had failed to turn in a low cross, the match was over as a contest as Burnley skipper Steven Caldwell let a long ball bounce past him for the second game in succession to let a striker in past him. This time it was Doyle who profited, firing sharply past Jensen after getting the better of Michael Duff in the penalty area.

Burnley had chances to get back into the game but found their £3m striker Steven Fletcher having a rare bad day at the head of their attack. Three times Fletcher was felled in the penalty area by Wolves defenders with no penalty award, with one incident, where Karl Henry hauled him to the ground by the shirt, looking a certain penalty.

The Scot also missed a fine chance at the back post and several times failed to capitalise on enticing crosses by not gambling on the ball evading the Wolves back four.

Caldwell later had a goalbound header cleared off the line by Kevin Foley as Burnley found their luck out but it was once again defensive frailties that proved their undoing at the other end.

Wolves will look back at this win as a crucial point in their season. Defeat would have left McCarthy struggling to defend his team selection against Manchester United and it could have been a defining moment. But the win will further boost already growing confidence as Wolves look up the table rather than down for the first time this season.

In contrast Burnley are winless in seven and face a must win Boxing Day encounter with local rivals Bolton next time out.