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My Great Pride

PUBLISHED

17:02 7th January 2013

Boss relishing Wolves challenge

Dean Saunders has spoken of his great pride at being appointed as Wolves manager - and fully embraced the challenge of leading the club back to the top flight.

The 48-year-old Welshman was formally introduced at an early-afternoon media conference in Molineux's International Suite that was also attended by many members of club staff.

"I'm really proud to be manager of a great club," he said. "There's a bit of disappointment at leaving behind the players I have at Doncaster but I couldn't turn this opportunity down.

"I want to manage at the highest level and I'm ambitious. My brief is to get the club back in the Premier League and I'm not fazed by it. I believe we have the players to do it; string three or four results together and we can be looking differently at the League table.

"Everyone has to pull in the right direction. If you don't get that, you can't succeed. If you do, there's no reason why we can't climb the table and get in the next league."

Saunders stopped short of describing this as his greatest post-playing test, pinpointing instead the move he made from coaching Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Shola Ameobi and Michael Chopra at Newcastle to going to Wrexham as manager.

"That was the biggest challenge and that will stand me in good stead forever," he added. "But this is a challenge and I'm going to enjoy it. I'm on a personal mission.

"We have a lot of players and I'm going to assess it. The players have to grasp it. I have an inclination that we are a bit weak in certain areas."

In confirming that he was bringing two members of his Doncaster backroom team with him - Brian Carey as his right-hand man and Mal Purchase to help on the fitness and strengthening side - the new man at the Molineux helm talked of continued fall-out from the club's three years in the top flight.

"It's like going to the best party ever and having a hangover you can't get rid of," he said. "But they have to get rid of it.

"You get relegated and you're the big team and if your mentality is not right, anybody can beat you. How can Luton beat you? How can that happen? But I predicted it might because I've been at that level with nothing to lose.

"Everybody wants to play when they have the ball but we want players who want to play without the ball.

"Brian Carey......I trust him thoroughly. He's fair with everybody. My job is on the training pitch, getting them motivated and winning.

"Looking at the table, we're up against it but win three games on the trot and we're right up there. My message would be: Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and blaming everything else......get some results on the pitch and get up the table.

"I've got my own way of doing things and I know it works. We have a plan when we have the ball and one when we haven't got the ball. It's not rocket science. If the players don't want to be with it, they won't be here for long.

"What the Wolves fans won't forgive you for is being lazy and playing badly. If you give 100 per cent, they will give you ten games to get it right.

"The aim is to get back in the Premiership. That's where the party is.

The longer you're in this league, the harder it gets."

Chairman Steve Morgan repeated his gratitude to Doncaster for the way they conducted themselves after Wolves' board had held an 'impromptu meeting' - attended by Steve, Jez Moxey, John Bowater and John Gough - following the defeat at Luton and decided to make a move for Saunders.

"I phoned the Doncaster chairman John Ryan on Saturday night for permission to speak to Dean," he said. "We had a pretty exhaustive conversation yesterday which led to an offer to Dean and to Dean accepting.

"I'd like to express my appreciation to John Ryan and the Doncaster board. We wanted Dean as our manager very much and they were very disappointed to lose him.

"I've been a long-time admirer of Dean as a player and in his coaching career and I hope he's here for a long period of time.

"I've known him for some time. Our paths crossed at Wrexham, where I was involved in the rescue six or seven years ago and put some finance in to help save them.

"He was a great player. Dean comes not with huge managerial experience but with huge football experience......75 Welsh caps, Liverpool, Villa, other English clubs, Benfica and Galatasary. He has first-class experience.

"He had no hesitation coming and was immediately at the training ground this morning to take his first session."

Steve did not dodge questions when he was asked about the Stale Solbakken era, adding: "Unfortunately, it didn't happen here (for him) and the results and performances fell a long way below what we expect at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"I didn't think Stale was a gamble. His track record was impeccable. I think the mistake was the culture difference.

"There's no culture difference with Dean. He's no stranger and is a really hard-working bloke. He's tactically aware and leads from the front."

In response to an enquiry about the club having had four managers in less than a year, the chairman added: "We've also had four managers in the last six and a half years - and one of those was only temporary.

"Mick McCarthy was one of the longest-serving managers in the country and hopefully Dean will still be here in six or seven years' time, having been successful."

There were also questions about the scope for transfer activity in the current window.

Saunders' first day in situ has included a look at the first half of the home game against Nottingham Forest this Autumn on DVD and supporters may wonder whether he targets new signings this month.

Steve promised that the board will try to accommodate his wishes but

said: "We have a playing squad that is too big. We have to get numbers down.

"If Dean has a need for additional players and we can identify them, though, we will see what we can do."

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