HELDER COSTA LOT BUT IS WORTH IT!
PAUL Lambert clearly likes taking Wolves to West London.
The Wolves boss can wrap most of his squad up in cotton wool for the international break with six points from two trips to the capital in five days, and relegation a lot further away in the rear-view mirror after this win at Fulham.
Helder Costa, who signed in January for a club-record £13million, showed his value with two assists that came more through will than skill.
For the crucial first and third he outmuscled Ryan Fredericks and Ryan Sessegnon respectively to present first Ivan Cavaleiro and then Dave Edwards with simple finishes.
Andreas Weimann’s strike just after half-time came courtesy of equally poorly defending by their play-off chasing hosts – the Austrian afforded too much space from Conor Coady’s cross to fire home.
Even when Denis Odoi’s strike threatened to make a game of it at 2-1, Wolves dug in before Edwards’ game-sealer.
“This part of the world has been alright, that’s two results from two really difficult games,” said Lambert.
“I thought on Tuesday night at Brentford we were outstanding but we surpassed that. We played a terrific game, with terrific intensity, a terrific game plan that worked.
“We looked a threat every time we went forward against, in my opinion, probably the best football team in the league.”
And the Molineux chief was full of praise for potent weapon Costa, adding: “Helder, since I have been at the club, has been fantastic.
“He had a little spell, like all players do, where he went off the boil a little bit but the last few games he has been back to his best.”
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic was left to rue a missed opportunity to move into the play-offs but insists there is still plenty of time.
“We believed we could make one step and be in the top six before the international break,” he said.
“We didn’t do enough good, we weren’t fresh enough and we weren’t solid enough. We gave them some charity presents and we paid the price.
“Helder Costa killed us. He has two situations that were dangerous for us and he made it so his teammates could push it into an empty goal.
“We were not solid enough to stop him.
“In general if you concede two or three goals it not easy to make a good result.”
Fulham might have considered themselves unfortunate to be behind at the break. Yet, that was the position from which Jokanovic was forced to address his players.
The visitors’ opener came when Costa, getting little change on the right, switched flanks and simply outmuscled Fredericks to a loose ball. Advancing into the box, it was far too simple for the winger as he squared it to Cavaleiro to tap home.
For the second there should be a defensive inquisition into how Weimann was allowed so much space just two minutes after the break.
Still, when substitute Odoi saw his deflected effort beat Carl Ikeme with half an hour left, there was plenty of time for an equaliser.
Costa seemed aware of this and harrying the ball from Sessegnon in what seemed a hopeless cause, the Portuguese got his second assist when he presented it to Edwards to put the game beyond Fulham.
LET’S CELEBRATE: Ivan Cavaleiro is congratulated after scoring Wolves’ opener