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Keep The Momentum


11:40 25th March 2013

Boss wants to build on City comeback

Dean Saunders wants his team to take belief from their second half display against Bristol City into the remaining eight games of the season as they look to extend their recent improved form.

After falling behind to their relegation rivals at Molineux last weekend, Wolves bossed proceedings in the second half and eventually got their reward thanks to goals from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle.

Now, as his squad prepare to take on Middlesbrough at home this Saturday, Saunders is sure that his players will take encouragement from the way they bounced back to earn their second win in three games.

"We overpowered Bristol City in the second half and forced the ball into the net," he says. "They had a chance right at the end and early on in the game but apart from that, they couldn't break on us and they couldn't get out.

"I had said a few choice words at half time - now and again as a manager, you let the team know what you're thinking to try and put something right.

"Sometimes it's a pat on the back to certain players and sometimes it's encouragement. But a pat on the back from me is the same as a rollocking - you try to get players to react in the right way and perform in whatever way you can."

That victory - Wolves' first at home since December 8 - was marred by serious injuries to Bakary Sako, Dave Edwards and Carl Ikeme, while Saunders has also been without several other members of his first-team squad due to international fixtures this weekend.

However, as the effects of a punishing season begin to take their toll, Saunders was keen to praise the team that turned the relegation 'six-pointer' around, particularly the man whose unfortunate first half own goal gave the visitors the lead.

He says: "David Davis was affected by the goal we conceded for 15 minutes, but he came out in the second half and rolled his sleeves up.

"I spoke to him at half-time and told him to put it behind him. And he went out in the second half and won the majority of second balls that were dropping - he was getting their first."

Due to the trio of injuries, Saunders' found his hand forced in terms of substitutions, but he was also delighted with the impact of all three enforced changes, and has challenged Stephen Hunt, Bjorn Sigurdarson and Dorus de Vries to maintain their form as the run-in gathers pace.

"I think Hunt got a bit of a strange reception when he ran on, but it didn't affect him," the boss says. "He set Sylvan's goal up, then he put the ball in for the second and in these big games, you've got to have players that aren't affected by outside influences.

"All three substitutes that came on did well - Hunt made the goals, Bjorn made a difference in the air especially and could have scored two himself, and Dorus de Vries kept the ball out of the net and had a couple of assists.

"Nowadays, the players going onto the pitch have become more important. I keep saying that substitutes need to be right in their minds because when they come, invariably you're hanging on to what you've got, and you're pushing to get a goal back, as we were last weekend."

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