We should be used to this by now. Very rarely do Wolves get things their own way but most people would have expected the obstacle to have come in our last game rather than when the Tigers came to town. We should have seen it coming really. A depleted starting eleven. Several players back from international duty with little to no rest and the small matter of playing half an hour with 9 men a few days previous. Nevertheless, this new look Wolves regrouped and claimed a valuable point.
Most people would have turned up at the ground in fantastic spirit after the Boro’ game and the offer of buy one get one free Carling would have done no harm. However, the prospect of a relatively comfortable evening was quickly banished in my eyes. Hull set up as most teams have done when visiting WV1 this season. But by no means were they one of the worst teams we’ve seen here. Yes, a lot transpired in their favour. Two of our contenders for player of the season were suspended. A lot of players that played on Friday had been on international duty so were perhaps overworked in the last week or so but we definitely still had enough to beat them. I was impressed with their organisation and when they did get hold of the ball they were quite comfortable. This was an example of where we missed Neves too. For all his silky footwork and passing ability. His defensive nous and partnership with Saiss has been very understated this season. N’diaye and Saiss both look impressive with Neves but when deployed together they highlight each other’s deficiencies. For me N’diaye wasn’t disciplined enough yesterday and the amount of times Hull could play between the lines in the number 10 position is something we’ve not been used to. It was nice to see Nouha Dicko back at Molineux and he did get a wonderful reception. It was the sharpest we’ve seen him for a couple of years as well. Which was the last thing our back 3 wanted after the gruelling battle on Teeside. With that being said. We were comfortable in the first half without too much penetration. I was confident Nuno would rally the troops at half time and we would get the job done.
We came out for the second half cold and Hull grew in confidence. They had numerous breaks and John Ruddy for the first time in a long time made a great save from close quarters to keep us level. I can’t recall the Hull goalkeeper making a meaningful save in the second half until Willy Boly decided he wanted a nomination for goal of the season. Nuno brought on Afobe at half time and I was glad to see we didn’t change our shape as that has not worked out for us once this season. Cavaleiro was moved out to RWB and considering he and Costa have played together their whole careers there was no cohesion and we struggled to create anything.
Step forward our saviour. Many people around me had never heard of our young Oskar prior to the 72nd minute of last nights fixture. But they’ll definitely remember the vital point he earned us in our quest back to the premier league. I was very impressed with how he conducted himself. It was an ideal situation, Nuno obviously told him to get forward as much as possible and Hull were diminishing with their attacking forays. If Neves was on the pitch I’m convinced we would have seen more from him. He made at least 5/6 runs over the top that our midfielders didn’t acknowledge. The way he took his header was like a seasoned goal scorer. He kept his calm and placed it perfectly into the bottom corner to cap a dream debut for himself. Hopefully there’s much more of this to come.
Steve Morgan definitely had his doubters but his legacy will definitely be our category 1 academy and the players we can attract because of it. It would be interesting to see just how much of a contribution this has made to our rise.
I wouldn’t put this performance or result down to complacency though. That may have happened earlier in the season but I believe Nuno would have guarded against this. I think the combination of the game on Friday, the international break and even a subdued crowd were culpable. Molineux was packed again and maybe the crowd even were fatigued from the match on Friday. I know the game took a lot out of me even watching from home. The shenanigans of the bank holiday weekend would also have had people feeling a little more lethargic than usual. This can have an affect on the players and although I don’t feel they were complacent their levels of adrenaline could have been down and that could have been the difference with Costa being more alert for the first goal and Willy Boly being stronger in the build up to the second. However, this is Wolves 2.0 and we found a way to get a point when we weren’t at our best and apparently that’s what champions do!