Kenny Jackett tonight hailed his players for coming through a stern test of character as Matt Doherty’s late winner at Bristol City made it seven points from the opening nine in Sky Bet League One.
Wolves dominated the opening period and should have been further ahead than Bakary Sako’s spectacular free kick, but an equaliser from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas eight minutes after the break prompted some City pressure and left the game evenly poised.
Carl Ikeme made an excellent double save from Sam Baldock to keep Wolves level, and a strong finish then saw Doherty’s connection on Sako’s cross loop into the net despite a desperate attempt to clear from Aden Flint.
While Jackett will be hoping Wolves will become more ruthless to take more advantage of their dominant spells, he was delighted to see the players recover from the second half setback to finish so strongly and win the game six minutes from time.
“It was a great win for us,” said Jackett.
“Sako has got a fantastic strike with his left foot and it was a tremendous opening goal for us.
“If you are looking at the amount of possession we had – the amount of corners and shots – we should have been further ahead.
“We played very well in the first half but while it was only 1-0, as the away side you are always concerned.
“Bristol City were always going to have a spell and they did, coming back with an equaliser.
“After that it was a test of character to make sure we were the team which won 2-1, rather than lost 2-1.
“For a while there it looked like it could go either way, and it became our test, to see whether we could come back and win the game in front of a large and passionate Ashton Gate crowd.
“Carl made a couple of great saves, as did their keeper, and the game could have gone either way so I’m delighted we came through it.
“We came back into the match very well towards the end and overcame the equaliser when you’d expect the home side to step up and be favourites."
Jackett continued: “We should have been more ruthless when we were in control of the game.
“But teams don’t make it easy for you and Bristol City were very organised and have a very good coach.
“They have some quality players and were always going to have a spell and we rode that.
“For a ten or 15 minute spell after their goal I thought we didn’t pass the ball as well as we can and we lost a little bit of confidence.
“We shouldn’t do that just because of one setback, and can’t lose confidence and stop making the right pass or looking for the ball.
“If we can play proper football I think we can achieve a lot.
“Having said that, character is a big factor as well as technique and to come through in a game which could have gone either way is a very good achievement.”
The winning goal prompted plenty of post-match talk as to whether it can be attributed to Doherty.
Conclusion was that it could, despite Flint perhaps getting the last touch, as it may have been goalbound in any case.
“Doherty is claiming it which is no surprise,” said Jackett with a smile.
“It looked like the defender got the last touch whether that be on the line or whether it was already in.
“Kevin Doyle was putting the defender under pressure at the time and I am sure the TV replay will clear it up.
“It was a good run and a very good contribution from a full back to come up with a telling touch.”
Despite Wolves’ excellent start to the league season, Jackett is not getting carried away and has re-iterated that any considered early reflections will not come until after 10 games.
But he is pleased with the early results, particularly as he is challenging the players to show more improvement in the coming weeks.
“It was a real test because last year this was a Championship game and to come to Ashton Gate and take the points is a big achievement for us and a big statement,” he added.
“That shows good character although there is still much for us to improve on and much for us to work on.
“We are only a few games into the season and I think there are a lot of areas we can improve on, and that needs to be the case.
“In any division you need to get results from games like this, it became a big test of character for our players to make sure we came through it and we did.
“It’s seven points from nine and two of those games have been away from home so we are very pleased with that.
“But I feel a start is ten games – that would give us a really good reflection of where we are.”