HELDER COSTA LOT BUT IS WORTH IT!

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tom Bas­sam

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.

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

LET’S CEL­E­BRATE: Ivan Cavaleiro is con­grat­u­lated af­ter scor­ing Wolves’ opener

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