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Boss's Pride In Players

PUBLISHED

00:13 17th April 2013

Saunders reflects as Wolves edge out Hull

Boss Dean Saunders tonight admitted he was proud of his players after they dragged themselves back into the thick of the survival battle after Saturday’s huge disappointment against Huddersfield.

 

Saturday’s 3-1 defeat had dumped Wolves back into the bottom three ahead of Tuesday’s visit of promotion-chasing Hull, with many suggesting time was running out on the club’s npower Championship status.

A vital 1-0 win against the Tigers thanks to Kevin Doyle’s goal made it 15 points from the last eight games for Wolves, but they only climbed out of the bottom three by virtue of goal difference.

“I’m really pleased for the players and proud of the players,” said the boss.

“Saturday was a massive kick in the teeth for us but I said if the results reversed today it would be different and it did with Huddersfield losing.

“Things went for us tonight as well with them hitting the post and the ball coming out and then with other results Derby getting a draw in injury time against Barnsley.

“Every other result I’ve been looking at in recent weeks has been the other way around – Barnsley equalised in the 96th minute at Cardiff last week and Sheffield Wednesday scored in the 93rd minute at Millwall.

“It seemed like everything was going against us.

“It’s incredible really that I think we are ten points clear of last year’s relegation tally with three games left.”

On the ever-changing shift in fortunes Saunders added:  “That’s football isn’t it?

“Every time you think things are going well you get a slap on the face and just when you think you’re on your knees it surprises you the other way.

“I thought the players were brilliant tonight and have shown their mettle again.

“We defended for most of the game and we could have gone 2-0 up but we didn’t take our chances so there was always the chance they might have got an equaliser.

“We are missing some important players but the lads have gone out there and really battled.

“The boys at the back defended really well and the midfield in front of them did well and Kevin Doyle scored a great goal.”

Hull’s tally of 11 away wins in the Championship is a record matched only by Watford so far, and so Saunders knew the task ahead as Wolves searched for a crucial victory.

And, in the wake of Saturday’s strong star but not so strong finish against Huddersfield, he opted to cater for Hull’s 3-5-2 formation by utilising Stephen Hunt in behind Doyle and opting for a more possession-based approach.

“I’d looked at their team and they are a good team which plays with three centre backs,” he said.

“They have played like that all season and have got some good results.

“They can cut you to shreds if you let them, like Watford, so we had a lot of dilemmas before the game about what to do.

“I thought if we went at them we would get them done on the break so I set the team up to try and resist and then get a goal from somewhere.

“We had some players like Wardy and Tongo who maybe haven’t played all that much recently and I felt that after Saturday’s game we couldn’t really go for the throat and had to keep the ball and save our legs a little bit.

“We did that in the first half and played out from the back and I was just hoping the players were strong enough mentally to do that because the crowd want you to get after teams.

“We kept the ball without actually penetrating their back line but we needed to stay in the game because we’ve been letting too many goals in.

“We restricted them to one shot which hit the post and five or six corners in each half – Dorus hasn’t had a save to make.

“Tongo couldn’t have played 90 minutes like we did on Saturday but he could tonight because we kept the ball.

“And he ended up with cramp but we didn’t have another central midfield player to bring on.

“Wardy hasn’t played for a while but has come through two games in three days.

“I am pleased we have got through the game without any injuries.”

Saunders continued:  “After what has happened on Saturday we needed to dig one out tonight.

“But the best we have played since I have been here was the first half an hour on Saturday.

“We didn’t play like that tonight but we got the points and that is all that matters.

“I am really proud of them for how they performed.”

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