Dean Saunders tonight reflected on a good point earned against Derby at Pride Park – and admitted with more of a cutting edge it could have been all three.
A hard-fought contest ended goalless this afternoon, with Jamie O’Hara and Bakary Sako denied by Rams’ keeper Adam Legzdins and Carl Ikeme’s main action coming with a 95th minute stop from Jamie Ward’s free kick.
Although Wolves were aiming for maximum points given the league position, the manner of the draw with the team looking very solid was praised by the manager.
“It was a solid performance and we just needed to put away the chances that came our way,” he said.
“I thought we played well and didn’t look in any major trouble with Carl’s first save coming in the 95th minute.
“We created a fair few chances and also had some balls headed back into the box where we just didn’t sniff out the opportunity.
“It maybe just needed someone to anticipate and poke the ball in the net with that killer touch in front of goal.
“We just didn’t have it today and on the balance of play we should have taken at least one of those chances.
“But we did all the basics properly and on another day we might be talking about a win.”
Kaspars Gorkss made an impressive debut in the Wolves defence alongside Danny Batth, both players producing a string of fine clearances to help restrict Derby to half chances.
And Saunders believes Wolves are showing signs of progress.
“You can see the difference here today,” he added.
“They battled away and gave it everything and we looked a lot stronger.
“Kaspars Gorkss came in and made a difference.
“Him coming in is the first building block for me to first of all stay in this league and then try and win it next year.
“I thought that both centre backs did really well – they were brave and strong - and it was a good all-round performance from a tough game.
“We were solid and kept things tight and just needed a cutting edge in front of goal.
“They have got one of the best home records in the division and I think we’re only the second team to stop them scoring here in the league.
“And we more than matched them.
“We need points and we need to start getting wins but it’s not disastrous to come to Derby and get a draw.
“Every point is vital and we’ll now move on to Barnsley.”
It promises to be tough at the Tykes who have found a rich vein of form and won again this afternoon, against MK Dons in the FA Cup.
But Saunders believes Wolves have it within their capabilities to prise a positive result from Oakwell.
“I’ve had six games now with four draws and two 2-1 defeats when we could have won both,” he said.
“When I got the job Steve Bruce rang me and said he’d looked at the first six games and said: “All the best.”
“Barnsley is a big game for both teams.
“I think they’ve got five wins and a draw in their last six games.
“But we’ve got good players and there’s no reason why we can’t go there and win and no reason why we can’t beat Cardiff either.
“We are playing well enough to do that.
“We’ve got some good players though and I just need to get them into the right formula and play the right type of football.
“The way we played in the first half is what we need to do when we played some good stuff going forward and didn’t really give them a sniff.
“The strikers worked hard and the midfielders played with a conscience and made sure they weren’t letting people run off them.
“Derby are a good side who are full of energy and it’s a good point for us - we kept a clean sheet which is what I asked for.”