NUNO PLAYS IT COOL AS RAMS ARE SHUT DOWN

Dou­glas, Cavaleiro strike for Wolves

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Colin Hen­rys

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

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

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