Stephen Ward says a few “kicks up the backside” helped Wolves return to a more energised display against Blackburn on Friday, and believes more of the same will see the team climb the table.
Wolves came from behind after conceding a contentious penalty to grab a pointkh through Roger Johnson’s second half header, and were the team finishing the stronger in search of all three.
A winner didn’t come, but the tempo of the performance was a sign of the impact of new boss Dean Saunders, which Ward has hailed as a positive for the remainder of the season.
He said: “The manager has a similar style to how we used to play, and I thought we took on board exactly what he wanted us to do.
"We have worked really, really hard in training, and it has been tough.
"A lot of people got a kick up the backside a bit and out there on Friday we put in a good performance and should have won the game.
“We were unfortunate to give away a penalty - Sako said he barely touched him.
"Apart from the penalty I don't they created much and that is a positive for us.
"It was nice to be solid at the back and to be honest we were very disappointed not to win.
"I think the character around the whole stadium was good.
"Sometimes we could have panicked and we could have got edgy.
"But I think we all stayed in it and we gave the crowd a lot to cheer with the way that we forced the game on to them and every time that we went forward I thought we looked dangerous.
"I hope that the crowd went home happy with the performance.”
Ward, who was aware of the manager’s talents from his own playing career, admits his enthusiasm for the job has lifted the players in the last week.
"I remember him when I was growing up,” said Ward.
"I wasn't a Liverpool or Villa fan but I remember him clearly and he was a great player.
"He still has a little bit on the training pitch and he likes to get involved with a bit of shooting and all that.
"He is an enthusiastic character and he wants his career as a manager to improve and he wants us to improve and go on that journey with him.
"We have worked really hard and he is very enthusiastic which has been great.
"I thought that the way we worked in the week showed out there - the work ethic was outstanding.”
The players are back in today ahead of preparing for the next fixture, at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday (3pm).
And Ward admits they have to produce more of the same if they are to pick up three points at Hillsborough.
“It was a good start on Friday and it was important that we didn't lose and get off to a positive result and a good performance,” says the Irishman.
“It is something that we can build on when we have another week's training under our belt.
"It is not the end of the world (where we are in the table).
"I think that if we can continue performances like this then we can only climb that table.”