Boss Ståle Solbakken tonight admitted it was difficult to explain such a poor Wolves performance in losing 3-0 to Peterborough – but vowed to “look in the mirror” and take responsibility.
The straight-talking manager says he will be looking back at his preparation and tactics as Wolves followed a decent run of nine points from four games with a hugely disappointing display against an upwardly-mobile Posh side now toasting a third successive win.
“We were very poor in long periods and I didn’t see this performance coming at all,” said the boss.
“We have to be honest and it was as disappointing as we could have been.
“When everyone is ready for a good Boxing Day performance the confidence should be high but we went out and performed only for 20 minutes at the end of the first half where we created three or four big chances.
“That was the only spell in the match we could be happy with – only 20 decent minutes.
“We could have changed the game with a goal then but we also have to look at the overall picture.
“It was that kind of day and we cannot make excuses.
“Rather than pointing fingers at the players I will take the blame myself.
“If one, two or three players have an off day you can explain it and they can be carried but I think I saw seven, eight or nine players who had a bad day for long periods.
“When so many players are not up for it then I have that responsibility and I will certainly take it – that’s how it is in football.
“But today we looked weak through the whole line and mentally weak also.
“Going 1-0 down to Peterborough with 75 minutes left should not be a catastrophe.
“We then had a good spell and then they got the second with a counter attack and then we looked like we were dead.
“I didn’t see the belief after we went 2-0 down and we didn’t look like we had the power to get back into it.
“Defensively we have looked very solid for a long time but the distances were too big in the team and we were vulnerable to counter attacks.
“We had a lot of the ball but didn’t really open them up in the second half.
“I have to look myself in the mirror and see what I have done wrong in the preparation or the tactics because this shouldn’t have come now at this point.
“It is a hard blow for us and a tough time now to retain mental strength before Saturday.
“It is very disappointing because we have built ourselves up after a Black November and have had some decent performances.
“Our standards have been higher and that is why today is not very easy to explain.
“That is when the manager has to look himself in the mirror and see what he could have done differently.
“We didn’t look lively and that disturbs me because football is supposed to be fun and players should go out and enjoy it, even if the crowd is a little bit anxious.
“It wasn’t the same body language as the last few games when everyone wanted the ball and everyone wanted to run for each other.
“Today it was like we maybe thought we go out and steal the points using as least power and strength as possible, sneak out and be ready for the next game.
“That doesn’t work in this division - I can’t really explain it and that annoys me.”
Wolves failed to take advantage of their best spell leading up to the interval, with Peterborough keeper Bobby Olejnik making a string of fine saves.
That allowed Tommy Rowe to cut inside for Posh’s second, adding to Lee Tomlin’s opener, and despite some attacking half time changes the only goal of the second half also fell to the visitors as Dwight Gayle tucked away Mark Little’s cross.
“We tried to get Sako more on the ball in the second half and behind the strikers, gambling a little bit,” added the boss.
“We wanted to get an early goal and wanted to get Sako into the game and in more dangerous positions but it wasn’t very successful.
“We had the ball in their half a lot of the time and still couldn’t open them up and create clear chances like we had in the last 15 minutes of the first.
“When we were going to go three at the back it was either Wardy or Foley to come off.
“We have Berra who is left-footed as one of the three.
“If you decide to have Roger in the middle it is Foley or Wardy.”
If there was a positive from today’s game then it arrived courtesy of the late return as substitute of Jamie O’Hara, for his first competitive football since March.
It was too late for O’Hara to make any impact this afternoon, but continues his progress following long-term injury and suggests he will be ready to make a telling contribution in the New Year.
“He got some minutes which is good but he has some way to go yet,” said Solbakken.
“To put pressure on Jamie when he has been out for eight or nine months is stupid.
“He has to get more minutes under his belt and do more training and then hopefully we can see the old Jamie O’Hara.”