NUNO PLAYS IT COOL AS RAMS ARE SHUT DOWN
Douglas, Cavaleiro strike for Wolves
WOLVES might have got their fans dreaming of promotion already after a great start to the season, but new boss Nuno Espirito Santo is refusing to get ahead of himself.
Barry Douglas’ deflected strike and substitute Ivan Cavaleiro’s goal saw Wolves down Midlands rivals Derby to follow up an opening win against Middlesbrough.
With another win, and clean sheet, against Yeovil in the Carabao Cup in between, it is three wins and no goals conceded to start Nuno’s reign at Wolves.
But the manager insists there is plenty of work still to be done, refusing to be drawn into superlatives at this stage.
“I’m not delighted, I’m pleased,” he said. “I have to congratulate the players for what they did. It is a good start, a good game again, but there’s still a long way to go and work to do.
“It’s not done yet. I’m not surprised by our progress, however – from day one, the boys knew what we wanted. Every day we are working in training. Nobody has a starting place ensured.
“From day one we have worked with the defence. It is important to build a team from the back, and the boys are getting the message.
“We should have taken advantage of our chances and closed the game sooner but I must congratulate the players. Chances are there, and goals will come.
“But we are two weeks down in a long season – it doesn’t mean anything yet. There are still some things to improve.”
Derby had controlled the early parts of the game but with little to show for it as Wolves’ three-man defence impressed.
At the other end, Wolves’ record signing Ruben Neves had a long-range shot deflected wide on 26 minutes and Leo Bonatini’s fierce strike flashed across goal from the resultant corner.
It signalled a swing in momentum, however, and Bonatini went even closer three minutes later, getting across his man to meet Matt Doherty’s cross at the near post, but he shot wide. And Wolves’ pressure paid off on 32 minutes when Bright Enobakhare’s cross ran to Douglas at the back post, and the Scot’s powerful strike deflected off Richard Keogh and went in.
Derby were more of a threat after the break, with Curtis Davies heading over within a minute of the restart, before John Ruddy saved from Johnny Russell on 48 minutes.
Wolves remained a threat on the counter-attack, however, and it took an inch-perfect tackle from Andre Wisdom – after his own poor header – to deny Diogo Jota on 53 minutes.
Just a minute later, Jota and Bonatini linked up brilliantly but the former’s shot was deflected onto the post by Scott Carson and the latter blazed the follow-up well over.
Enobakhare was next to get involved, releasing Doherty with a superb first-time backheel on 58 minutes, but the wing-back wasted the opening by shooting into the side-netting.
Substitute Cavaleiro sealed victory on 76 minutes however, after Jota raced onto Enobakhare’s through ball, and squared unselfishly to provide a tap-in at the back post.
Gary Rowett admitted his side had lacked the quality needed in the final third. “It was really disappointing,” he said. “We had enough quality to create more chances, and we certainly didn’t show that quality often enough.
“We saw some positives in the first game, and we wanted to try and build on those. We wanted the players to be a little bit braver, and perhaps not be as safe.
“We had most of the ball, but it’s what you do with that.
“The first goal was really sloppy from our point of view, and it was disappointing to be a goal down when there wasn’t an awful lot in the game.
“And then we just struggled to create enough chances – it’s as simple as that.”
THAT’S FOR YOU: Wolves’ Ivan Cavaleiro celebrates, after scoring their second goal, inset
NO WAY THROUGH: Derby County’s Andreas Weimann sees a shot at goal blocked by Roderick Miranda