Kenny Jackett was delighted to see Wolves make a winning return to the Sky Bet Championship – but feels his team can also learn a lot from this afternoon’s opponents Norwich.
A tight game hinged on several key incidents, including the dismissal of Canaries’ left back Martin Olsson on the hour mark for his second yellow card, both for fouls on impressive Wolves’ debutant Rajiv van La Parra.
And the flying Dutchman took full advantage four minutes later with a superb cross expertly headed home by Dave Edwards for the only goal of the game in front of the Sky cameras.
“I felt we played well and deserved the win,” said Jackett.
“It was a big win for us and what we all wanted.
“There is always a big build-up to the first game at every club after a long pre-season and quite often they can be quite frantic.
“Pressure builds up and everyone wants to get to that first day and winning then is a big thing, especially with us coming into a new division.
“After that you have to settle down, find your feet in the division you are in and make sure that you are effective.
“So it was a good day and a start for us and now we have to carry it on.
“The players can take some confidence from it but we will judge the start to the season through August and September.
“After that we will see exactly where we are in this division.
“And there are a lot of things we can learn from today and at times Norwich’s movement, particularly in the first half, was excellent and the way they try to hunt and close you down.
“We’ve got to pick up on those things and try to improve because we are going to need to as we go into a tough season.”
Jackett felt referee Simon Hooper had little alternative but to send Olsson off after he lost a race for the ball with van La Parra, having already been booked.
“The sending-off was one of the pivotal moments in a game of few chances,” he said.
“There were a few in the game, including Grabban’s chance, from the inside right position where he’s usually very strong.
“There was also our goal, a very good one from Dave Edwards, and then Sako later on with a clear-cut chance as well.
“The sending-off turned the game our way as it had been very tight until then.
“In terms of possession Norwich had started very well in the second half and we did what good sides do which was to defend very well and negate their chances so they didn’t have many during the period that they were on top.
“We managed to carry on being a threat on the break and that brought one of the key moments because there is never any way you can play a team with that quality and calibre of players and have it easy.
“We got our noses in front and made our man advantage pay by passing the ball well and using the full width of the pitch.
“Norwich will be strong this season and three points are always welcome.
“It is so hard to win games in this league and we have something to build on as well as learning our lessons as a team and a club to know exactly what we need going forward into a crucial season.”
The Head Coach also explained his decision to bring in Matt Doherty at right back, with skipper Samuel Ricketts on the bench.
Jackett believes in a long Championship season he will need all of his senior players to be available and ready to figure if Wolves are to be successful.
“It was down to the system Norwich played with attacking full backs,” he said.
“It is close between a number of players and at times I have got as good a group of players on the bench as out on the pitch.
“If we want to be successful that has to be the case.
“You need a strong squad over a long season – at present we have one player injured but it’s not going to stay that way.
“And energy, freshness, competition for places – all that comes into it.
“Today we did very well against a good attacking side with a lot of pace and a lot of ability.
“In Hoolahan in particular they have a player capable of turning any game.
“We defended very well and kept them to a minimum amount of chances.”
Jackett meanwhile also confirmed widespread reports suggesting Wolves have an interest in Leicester striker Chris Wood.
“We have made enquiries and we are in conversation but it is a long way off being sealed,” he said.
“And I don’t want to talk too much about another team’s players.
“We have made an approach but there is a long way to go before sealing him as a Wolves player.
“We haven’t had the green light to speak to the player yet but it is one we are pursuing.
“I’ve been concentrating on the game today and people behind the scenes have been working at it rather than me.”