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Pride And Not A Fall


11:26 23rd February 2013

Boss sets the challenge

Dean Saunders has set his players the challenge of winning six of their remaining games - to keep the club in the npower Championship and restore their 'personal pride'.

Wolves host Cardiff City at Molineux tomorrow (2pm) off the back of an eleven-game winless streak which has resulted in them occupying one of the relegation places.

With 13 league games remaining, Saunders has in mind the points total needed to ensure that the club don't drop down to League One.

"We've got to win five or six games," he says. "They're capable of doing that. It might not look like that because we haven't won in a long time, but we've shown flashes of how we should be playing in games recently.

"Kaspars Gorkss was telling me that when he was at QPR, they went on a terrible run in this division, then won one game and didn't lose in twelve - that's how easily it can turn.

"Speaking to the players, they all say we're playing better than we were, which I'm pleased about. The games that we've lost have all been narrow defeats - they've all been 2-1 and I feel we could have won all three."

Saunders is looking to avoid a second Championship relegation in two years, while a number of his squad are also facing a second drop in succession after finishing bottom of the Barclays Premier League last campaign.

The manager, who was in charge of Doncaster Rovers last season, insists he is desperate to avoid the same fate this time around, and is eager that his players show the right mentality for the fight in the coming weeks.

"It's about pride," he says. "Personal pride comes over and above everything else in your life. That's what I tell the players - if you're a proper professional with pride, all your focus is how you play on Saturday.

"The players' talent isn't enough. If you're mentally not right, you're going to get beaten. Forget how much talent you've got - if you don't do the basics properly and defend well, you don't win games in the Championship.

"We'll find out about the desire of these players - I don't know what it's like at the moment. All you can do is prick their conscience."

Saunders concedes that the unexpected relegation dogfight is a 'distraction' from the plans he is trying to put in place for next season, but says he is still confident in his ability to turn Wolves into a Championship force again.

"I'm not satisfied with what I've seen so far and I'm going to put it right," he said ahead of the Cardiff clash. "I'll definitely get it right, but we've got to make sure that we get enough results in the meantime to ensure that I'm not sacked and out the door before I get the chance.

"This is the way I work - I've come to the club and told the players I'll give them a chance to show me what they can do, and if they don't play how I want them to play, I'll get somebody else in that can."

He continues: "I'll have a team in July which is on the starting grid and ready to challenge for promotion - I've got the players in my head that I want, and the rest of the squad will be made up from whoever impresses me between now and the end of the season.

"Those players won't want to come to a League One club though, and we won't be able to afford them."


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