Ståle Solbakken heads into tomorrow’s game with Sheffield Wednesday praising his players for their “willingness to learn” a new style and tactics.
The Wolves boss is not getting carried away but has seen his team settle well at the start of the season, winning three successive npower Championship fixtures ahead of tomorrow’s visit of the Owls.
Much work has been undertaken both on the training pitch and behind the scenes watching DVD’s and having tactical discussions about the way the boss wants his players to perform.
And that is why the boss still believes there is plenty more to come despite the recent promise.
“Our offensive players can get better in terms of when to go fast and when to slow down, and when to play a direct ball and when to use the central midfielders,” says Solbakken.
“I still think we’re not playing angled balls enough – we’re still playing too many balls where we’re playing for the second ball – but we’re learning that there other opportunities and alternatives.
“We’re trying to present that to the players, not only by telling them but by actually showing them pictures so they can see it for themselves.
“Videos, DVDs, and we stop the play when we’re playing 11 v 11 at exactly at the right moment so they can see if there is another option.
“We don’t want to be naive – we can’t demand that we’re going to play through the other team.
“To go in the right direction so they feel they can improve as a team but also as an individual, they must realise that there is more than one alternative.
“That’s something where we have a bit of work to go on, but we’re going in the right way.
“We’re showing them DVDs of themselves and as a complete team in games and in training and in tactical meetings.
“We had one or two players in on Thursday before the Peterborough match to show them certain situations from the Ipswich game.
“I asked them ‘why do you do that?’ and ‘why don’t you do the other thing?’.
“For me, it’s also important to hear their explanations and to know why they’re doing it because I need some reasons for that.”
Part of Solbakken’s thinking involves all of his squad knowing what is required from each and every position, meaning that all the players are ready and willing when selected.
“It’s important if you have 18-20 players that they know their jobs,” he said.
“It makes it easier for when you rotate them.
“For example, if we play Stephen Hunt, he will play the wide left role differently to Bakary Sako, but defensively, they more or less have to do the same thing.
“And that means if Stephen Ward plays behind one of those two players, he should eight out of 10 times how either player are going to do their job.
“Wardy has to solve the problem on his own the other two times.
“But it must not come to that – he must improvise and come to an individual decision because Christophe Berra and Georg Margreitter have to do the same on the inside of him and that can be a big advantage for us on that if we can get a bit further with that.
“What I like is the players’ willingness to learn.
“I think we’ve gone past the point where I don’t have to convince them that this is a smart thing to do – we’re finished with that.
“Now it’s a case of putting it into practice and making it better and better.”
And another area where the boss wants his team to improve is to play without fear, particularly at home, and particular if games are edgy.
Wolves have taken seven points from their first three home games in the Championship, but the boss knows there will be tough and nervy challenges ahead, possibly as early as tomorrow when Wednesday visit Molineux.
Solbakken added: “We still have to work on that fearless play and if we are to progress – even though we’ve won three games in a row - we need to get better.
“One of those processes especially is home games when maybe not everything is going smoothly, and it’s important that every player demands the ball and has no fear.
“I think the only thing that really helps is to win games and prove you can go through those edgy periods in a game where not everything is working out and you’re balancing on a thin line.
“For me it’s also about trying to be calm and having a good influence, not only on yourself, but your team-mates around you.
“I think that we should be better as we learn more about each other, not only between manager and players, but players coming in late and learning a new way of playing.
“I think we’re better served for the future than we were even a week ago, but there is a lot more to come.
“It’s one thing to look at DVDs and see the players in action, but another thing is to look at them in games to see which players do what in certain situations against different kinds of opposition and different kinds of matches.
“I’m learning more every day.”