Kenny Jackett was tonight reflecting on a “hard fought” victory as Ethan Ebanks-Landell notched the winner at Notts County – but was quick to ensure no one gets carried away after Wolves hit the top of Sky Bet League One.
Ebanks-Landell, on his first league start for Wolves, fired home the 76th minute winner that was the difference between the sides on an afternoon where Jackett’s team grew stronger as the game went on and should have added further to the scoreline.
With Leyton Orient losing at home to Preston, three points at Meadow Lane took Wolves to the top, but Jackett insists that all the team have done is create a good platform which must be added to over the coming weeks and months.
“This was a great win for us and a hard fought win,” said the Head Coach, who had previously held discussions about whether to apply for a postponement given the absence of the club’s international contingent.
“I don’t really feel it was an ugly win – our performance grew as the game went on and we created enough clear cut chances in the second half to have put the game away against a very resilient side.
“Notts County put a lot of heart and spirit into their game as I knew they would on what was their first home game under a new manager.
“We wanted to play the game because we didn’t want to slip behind and you never know how things are going to be when you do rearrange that particular game.
“Notts County were missing players as well and the way it worked out both clubs decided to push ahead with the fixture rather than let fixtures pile up and have to tuck it in on a Tuesday.
“We know that because of our Premier League past, wherever we go it is the other team’s cup final and it was like that today as well as being the new manager’s first home game.
“Playing against Wolves is a big game in this division and we always have to be prepared to battle to overcome that.
“We did that today and defended very well at times and then got stronger as the game went on.”
After a testing first half in which Notts County started strongly, Jackett made a tactical switch at half time introducing Leigh Griffiths for Dave Davis and reverting to a 4-4-2 formation which gave Wolves a more attacking edge.
“I felt we needed a bit more up front for the second half and the arrival of Leigh Griffiths made a difference,” he explained.
“We hadn’t had the clear cut chances that I had expected with the sum total being a good shot from Jake Cassidy which the keeper saved well.
“Notts County had started well and we were slack with some of our passes and moves and didn’t capitalise on some of the space that we had.
“We were more clear cut and clinical in the second half and carved out clear cut chances and I’m pleased to say we managed to take one of them.
“Although Leigh didn’t score he is a constant threat to their back line and I was pleased with him when he came on despite missing the clearest chance of the day.
“We created more chances once Leigh came on and we had that threat.
“Notts County went for us today – they pressed us and didn’t give us any time on the ball and we couldn’t play it out from the back because they were throwing men forward.
“If that happens you have to have a threat at the other end because there are opportunities to have one on one situations with the right pass.
“We did do that in the second half and unfortunately didn’t take them.”
And in terms of the crucial second half breakthrough from the 20-year-old Ebanks-Landell?
Jackett said: “I am pleased for Ethan because is a young man who has worked very hard to get into the group for this season, one of many young players who have contributed to far.
“Scoring the winner with his left foot was great for him and for us.
“I thought he played very well and we have got a wealth of talent at right back which is a good position for us.
“He did well when he came on at Bradford a few weeks ago.
“Sometimes it takes him a bit of time to get into the game and then he builds and realises he is a good enough player.
“He is an excellent character and a first class lad and everyone in the dressing room is very pleased for him.”
Victory took Wolves to the top of the table for the first time this season – the challenge from Jackett to his players will be to try and stay there.
“And that’s not going to be easy,” he added.
“The top of the league has set off at a fantastic pace and we have got some very big games coming up after the loan window has shut which will be a very big test for us.
“But there is a good spirit amongst the players and these are games we are looking forward to.
“That spirit is always a good sign and we have put ourselves in a good position – that’s all we have done.
“Over the winter months it is really important that we as a club and as a group capitalise on that.
“You want to do as well as you possibly can and at this stage of the season I look at points total rather than position - after this number of games you can’t win anything but with the way the table has stretched you could be out of it.
“We are well in contention and have got a good total from the number of games we have played and now have to look forward very positively to make sure as a club that we capitalise on the chance that we have.
“Of course it is great for our supporters and great for us that we are top of the league but that does put up there to be shot at.
“We have to try and build on the good platform that we have made for ourselves so far.”