Wolves striker Kevin Doyle today revealed his privilege at captaining the team to victory against Bristol City on Saturday – but acknowledged the team need to carry on “fighting for our lives”.
Doyle was handed the skipper’s armband for the crucial game, and responded with an all-action display culminating in heading home the winning goal 12 minutes from time to send Molineux into raptures.
The popular striker has also expressed his disappointment at quickly being brought down to earth after the vital win by receiving a text message informing him he hadn’t made the Republic of Ireland squad for the first time – when fit – in seven-and-a-half years.
“It was a high pressure situation on Saturday,” he said.
“At half time we were massively under the cosh and massively under pressure.
“It was tough being in that situation but thankfully we turned it around in the second half.
“In the first half it was probably as low as we were going to get with going behind and then losing two players to injury.
“We’ve had a few injuries go against us and there were no changes that could be made in the second half so the 11 players out there had to do whatever they could to win the game.
“I was delighted with the goal and think it showed in my celebration!
“I am very privileged to be captain of Wolves even if it was stand-in captain – it is always an honour.
“I was delighted to have the honour and even more delighted I scored what would prove to be the winning goal.
“At least we got a win at home which we haven’t done for a while and under the pressure of the situation it was massive for us.”
While hoping Wolves can continue to build on the second half of Saturday’s game – and indeed a run of seven points from the last four games – Doyle knows there is much more work to do and insists no one will be getting carried away.
He added: “We’ve won two of our last four games and taken seven points but I’m not making any big statements or saying this is a turning point – we just have to keep working hard.
“We need four or five more wins, simple as that.
“As I’ve said before it’s not been good enough and we all know that.
“But we are still giving it our all, as I think the comeback on Saturday showed.
“It has been difficult for us and I know it is difficult for the fans to watch.
“I don’t know what it looks like from a fans’ point of view but I am sure maybe they think we are not up for it and not trying.
“That’s not the case.
“We’ve just not played well enough and in the situation we are in it is tough to play good football.
“We just have to fight for our lives and it wasn’t pretty on Saturday but we came away with the win after people were probably writing us off at half time.”
Doyle meanwhile was a surprise absentee from the Republic of Ireland squad for Friday’s World Cup qualifier in Sweden and next Tuesday’s home fixture against Austria.
Named in the provisional squad Doyle and Wolves’ team-mate Stephen Ward were both left out of the final 23 when it was named immediately after Saturday’s programme of fixtures.
The exclusion comes despite the fact that Doyle actually captained his country on his last international start against Oman last September, days after coming off the bench to score a crucial last gasp winner in the World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan.
“I was very disappointed to come in after the game to a text message saying I wasn’t to travel to Ireland to join up with the squad,” said Doyle.
“I have been in every squad when I have been fit for seven-and-a-half years so it was disappointing.
“I thought I might get a phone call but it wasn’t to be and I haven’t spoken to the manager about it.
“Maybe he will speak to me about it in the future and for now I just have to get on with it.
“I’ve been in squads for seven-and-a-half years and certainly never took it for granted and have always found it a great pleasure and privilege to play for my country.
“I feel I have always given 100 per cent in terms of showing the right attitude and dedication with Ireland in every training session and every match as I do here at Wolves.
“I will carry on doing that and hopefully get another opportunity to do that again in the future.
“It was disappointing to get the text message telling me not to travel particularly after such a good game with Wolves and you quickly go from one extreme to another.
“But that’s football - I’m not going to cry about it and just get on with it and hopefully get back in the squad as soon as I can.”