Ståle Solbakken tonight acknowledged Wolves have produced their two worst displays of the campaign against Peterborough and Ipswich – but said the squad must stay united to get the season back on track.
After three wins in four Wolves followed up the Boxing Day defeat against Posh by losing 2-0 to Ipswich this afternoon, marking a successful Molineux return for Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor.
The Wolves boss and players held a discussion in the dressing room after the game, with the manager admitting confidence has taken a knock over the Christmas period.
“It was more or less the same story as against Peterborough,” he said.
“We started o-k – not brilliant but o-k – but once they scored their goal it looked like an uphill battle all the way and we struggled big-time to come back.
“I think you can see it’s a bad sign for confidence when we are trying to play one touch football when we have more time on the ball.
“When you can take it on the chest you head it or if you can stop the ball you clear it and if you can dribble and take people on you pass it –all this is a sign of a lack of confidence.
“All over the pitch we seemed anxious and were rusty with the ball making a lot of mistakes.
“At the moment we are struggling with the power to get back into the games if the opposition get the first goal.
“Our last two home games have been so poor that we have to be honest and say that this has not been us.
“We have to dig ourselves out of that as soon as possible.
“I can’t really explain how we can take nine points from four games and play some good to decent football and then drop to this level for these two games, especially at home against two teams we should be able to create chances against and dominate for periods.
“It is difficult to know why we should then create so few chances and be vulnerable in defence.
“At the moment we are struggling with the simplest things with the ball and that is causing us problems.”
Solbakken continued: “Sometimes these situations happen in football.
“When you are under an amount of pressure like we are now you have to be honest with yourselves and win the battle with yourselves.
“You have to make sure that you do what you think it is right and don’t let anything else affect you.
“At the moment we look a little bit scared and that must not be the case.
“Now we must show everyone that we have the character.
“We have had the two worst performances of the season and there is nowhere to hide – it can’t get any worse than these two games.”
On the post-match inquest the manager added: “You can have a go at one or two or three players but it is important we stay together.
“We had a short discussion and will be back in tomorrow to get finished with the game.
“I think it is important for players to say what they think and they have their views.
“All in all I think they feel differently.
“Some feel that things are going against them at the moment and that they could have done more.
“We know we have played very poorly in the last two games and have to raise our game quickly.
“The players are also disappointed and I don’t think there is one particular reason which is easy to solve.
“We have looked jaded in the last two games which is strange when we had done well before and it looks a bit like the pressure is getting to us at home.
“I don’t think anyone feels that on purpose but maybe it just looks like that.
“It is very rare to have two games like this after a good run and it’s hard to understand where it is coming from.
“We have to pick ourselves up and try and get revenge at Palace but obviously we have to change something.”
Wolves appeared to have strong claims for a penalty early on when Kevin Doyle got in front of Luke Chambers and then fell under a tangle of legs.
The incident with under two minutes gone could have changed the game but the boss was certainly not looking for any excuses.
“I haven’t seen it yet,” he said.
“But I struggle to see when Kevin Doyle is going to get a penalty at home this season – this was probably the third or fourth appeal.
“Maybe we should have had it but that is no excuse as we played for almost the whole game after that.
“It could have changed the game but when you play so poorly to look back and hope it would have been different isn’t right.
“It would probably have gone over the bar.”
And the boss said he had no problems with the Wolves fans voicing their opinions, including the chant of “You don’t know what you’re doing” when withdrawing Doyle.
“Sometimes you make a decision which you think is right and sometimes you do things the crowd don’t think is right.
“That’s what I am there for – to do what I believe in.
“We tried to get our two midfielders on the ball in O’Hara and Doumbia who are more offensive players than Karl and David.
“We took a chance to put Björn up front around Sylvan.
“It was a choice between Kevin and Sylvan as to who could have got us a goal and I felt it was Sylvan today.
“To be honest we deserve all the stick we have had over the last two games.
“In the Peterborough game when we had the 15 minute spell before half time they were right behind us and then when the second goal went in they got disappointed.
“When we didn’t manage to open them up in the second half they are entitled to speak their opinion and the same goes for today.
“It would be harsh to blame the crowd for anything – we have to blame ourselves.”
And despite three Championship managers losing their jobs over the festive period Solbakken remains confident he will turn Wolves’ fortunes around.
“It is always like this when you are a manager as you live on results,” he said.
“I don’t think that is the way to go – we are in the early phase of something and have to stay together.
“I don’t think that will happen and I will just go on with my job.
“I think I can turn this around and that is the only thing on my mind – turning it around and getting a result on the 1st of January.
“But of course we need to improve.”