If anyone was still in denial about Wolves being in a relegation scrap, they can be in no doubt now.
In what must rank as the most spineless, characterless and listless performance since the days of Dean (not including our A****n surrender), we couldn’t be bothered to run off the ball when we had it – or work to win it back when we didn’t.
Make no mistake, we’re going down unless we start adhering to the basic principles of the game, with a two-win-in-12 Palace (both against the bottom two) the latest side to work harder, keep the ball better and run further than us, resulting in the easiest win they’ve recorded all season (not including A****n’s surrender).
Watching Joao Moutinho knock a 5yd ball out of play, Patricio dive out the way of a straight shot and Dendoncker not caring to make a tackle when 1-0 down isn’t a sorry sight, but a downright shameful one.
On this evidence, these internationals – along with most other players on the pitch – aren’t good enough for a Championship play-off push, never mind Premier League survival. Our wing backs offer nothing making a back three pointless, our centre backs are too slow to make a back four plausible and everywhere else on the pitch we care so little that we can’t even be troubled to run.
In the absence of any stats for heart and desire, I’ll stick my neck out and say we were operating at around 5% maximum, which is being generous.
If the players’ passing accuracy and workrate was revolting, then at least their timing was good; waiting for Nuno to express his pride in Wolverhampton when giving £250,000 out of his own pocket before choosing to show none between them. They should be docked their wages for the cause.
If our manager wasn’t tearing strips off them in the Selhurst Park changing rooms then he should have been. And despite his incredible benevolence he’s not immune from criticism either, sticking with three centre halves at 0-1 when I thought the whole point of the four-man defence experiment was to adapt at times like these? And what of Ruben Neves? Unless injured, he can’t have pictured ‘the project’ incorporating a puffer jacket and a wet, faded plastic seat in South London?
As it was, we shifted up to Plan C: Give the ball to Traore and hope for the best whilst refusing to break into the box to get on the end of his crosses at the same time.
If losing to WBA and being outplayed by Chorley weren’t red flags already, then approaching a huge fixture like this as if it was a pre-season friendly is the biggest warning sign of all.
Pep Guardiola, manager of the league leaders we actually did the double over last season summed it all up (when addressing his Barcelona players for the first time in a conference room).
“When we have the ball, we can’t lose it. And when that happens, run and get it back. That’s it, basically.”
Yet again, we respect neither of these basic principles and the upshot will be a return to the league we worked so hard to get out of unless something changes dramatically, or three similarly awful teams can do us a massive favour.
‘Glad all over’ boomed the PA system at full time.
A soundtrack for the players if ever I heard one, who didn’t seem bothered that it was.