Nuno thrilled as Wolves em­brace top-six progress

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Tim Nash

Nuno Espir­ito Santo, the Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers head coach, paid trib­ute to his side’s stay­ing power and progress af­ter they achieved their record Premier League points to­tal.

An ul­ti­mately rou­tine vic­tory over free-fall­ing Crys­tal Palace

meant Wolves moved to 59 points, two more than last sea­son’s to­tal, when they fin­ished sev­enth.

This win moved them back up to sixth place af­ter their 56th game in all com­pe­ti­tions, yet they have used a Premier League low of 20 play­ers and still have their Europa League last 16 sec­ond-leg tie at home to Olympia­cos to come.

“Progress sea­son-on-sea­son is the idea,” Nuno said. “We are im­prov­ing, build­ing and look­ing for the next chal­lenge. We em­brace that.

“It pleases me a lot. The credit is all for the play­ers. It has been a long sea­son; one cal­en­dar year. I think sur­pass­ing last sea­son’s points is a fair re­ward for us.”

Daniel Po­dence, at 5ft 5in the small­est player on the pitch, headed his first goal in English foot­ball af­ter a su­perb pass from 33-year-old Joao Moutinho, the old­est, to put Wolves ahead in the 41st minute.

Jonny clinched the vic­tory mid­way through the sec­ond half with a shot on the turn af­ter great work by Adama Traore.

It con­signed Palace to a sev­enth straight de­feat and they lost an­other player, Ma­madou Sakho, to in­jury af­ter 23 min­utes. “It’s ground­hog day for us,” said Roy Hodg­son, the Palace man­ager.

Wolves (3-4-3) Pa­tri­cio 6; Den­don­cker 7, Coady 7, Boly 7; Do­herty 6, Neves 7, Moutinho 6, Jonny 6; Traore 8 (Neto 81), Jimenez 6, Po­dence 8 (Jota 72). Subs Ruddy (g), Jor­dao, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Vi­na­gre, Kil­man, Buur.

Booked Coady, Traore.

Crys­tal Palace (4-4-2) Guiata 6; Ward 6, Dann 7, Sakho 6 (Kouy­ate 23), Mitchell 6; Townsend 5, McCarthy 6, McArthur 6, Schlupp 7 (Riede­wald 73); Zaha 6, Ayew 6. Subs Hen­der­son (g), Meyer, Kelly, Woods, Kirby, Pier­rick, Gor­don. Booked McCarthy.

Referee Peter Bankes (Mersey­side).

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