“We have a threat going forward but we have to be stronger at the back than we have in the last few months. So I decided to come here and be strong.”
“The whole team has been too wide open, the game was too wide and you can’t defend like that – no slight on Walter Zenga.”
Probably a touch difficult to not see that as a criticism of his predecessor, but I’m inclined to agree with Paul Lambert’s assessment.
The team has been too open. They haven’t got close enough to the opposition and that’s been reflected in the goals that have been conceded lately.
A cleansheet and a respectable point isn’t too shabby a debut, even if the attacking performance left much to be desired.
There were few surprises in defence with familiar personnel in a familiar setup and after our first successful shutout since the middle of September we shouldn’t grumble.
That said, the same frailties and individual errors surfaced at crucial moments, which could easily have taken the game away.
Dominic Iorfa was lucky to escape punishment after a clumsy challenge in the box and Kortney Hause’s slip (albeit in an otherwise strong showing) in the final minute sent their striker through on goal.
Focus and decision making are two key attributes for any defender at any level and unfortunately these are the precise areas our promising young stoppers have repeatedly been found lacking at the crucial moments this term.
I can’t help but feel the team would benefit from Richard Stearman’s experience in attempting to navigate this difficult period. He must be close to a start.
Many point to a ‘one big mistake every few games’ track record, but his colleagues are averaging one a game so that argument goes flying out the window.
Further forward, Lambert did raise eyebrows by bringing in Jack Price and George Saville who’ve seldom featured in recent times, as well as a shock start for Bright Enobakhare.
Two of those changes were in line with the head coach’s ‘lock it down’ game plan but the inclusion of Enobokhare was the major statement of intent.
If the young striker can suddenly jump the queue, it’s a reminder that nobody’s position is safe and there’s opportunity for all.
Not much went for Bright in a tight, congested contest and it was only in the final knockings when Dicko, Cavaleiro and Wallace entered the fray that Wolves began to threaten.
Cavaleiro produced the two best crosses of the afternoon for Wolves, both for Dicko and both unfortunately squandered.
Still, there will be an expectancy for those forward thinking players to start next Saturday in Lambert’s Molineux curtain raiser.
He alluded to the fact that the team needs to be setup differently to play at home, so I would expect at least some of those changes to happen.
It’s a scrappy, low key start. But maybe a few months of ‘low key’ is exactly what we need?