Former Welsh international and 606 presenter Robbie Savage believes Wolves have the talent, determination and togetherness to match the ambitions of the club’s owners.
The ex-Leicester City midfielder, who is a regular face on BBC Sport and BT Sport’s football coverage, has been impressed with Wolves in their first season back in the Premier League, and spoke exclusively to wolves.co.uk regarding how far he thinks the Old Gold can progress in the future.
Robbie, how do you think Wolves have done in their first season back in the Premier League?
“They’ve done brilliantly in their first season back in the Premier League. People are asking whether they are the best promoted side ever, but they’ve certainly done exceptionally well and the way they play is great to watch.
“I’ve had Ryan Bennett on my show and he spoke about the team spirit and the togetherness in the squad, which you can see. They have a great mix; the likes of Conor Coady producing the kind of performances which he has, then they have Jota, Neves, Moutinho and Jimenez, and I think Doherty has been great.
“They have a great mix, a great desire and a great togetherness. I’ve been very impressed with them.”
What do you think the impact of the singings Nuno made in the summer had on the team?
“People talk about Fulham spending £100 million and have got relegated, so it’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about how you spend that money and how those players integrate into your squad. You’ve got to say that Wolves have done that exceptionally well.
“A lot of the players they’ve brought in this season have hit the ground running in the Premier League, as a collective, which is brilliant and something you don’t always see.
“Jimenez, who is now on a permanent deal, has done exceptionally well, but if Wolves can add two or three more players to improve their squad then they will have a great chance of finishing as the ‘best of the rest’ or even higher once again next season.”
Where do you think Wolves should be aiming for next season?
“On 606 at the beginning of the season, we had a few Wolves fans call up saying ‘we’re going to get into the Champions League’ and ‘we want to win the league’ – we laughed, but you can why they said that.
“We know what the aims and ambitions are and the way Wolves are going to do it, but stability is the most important thing in the Premier League. Stay in the league for three or four years, and then try to break into the top six. If they can do that, build each year, get better and better, then who knows what the limit is for Wolves.
“After Leicester City won the Premier League, they proved that nothing is impossible in football. It would have given hope to every club like a Wolves, the kind of club who are very similar to Leicester, that there is hope.”
How difficult do you think it would be for Wolves to improve on this season and break into the top six?
“I think there are three teams who could possibly do it next year – Wolves, Leicester and Everton. I think those three, especially with the season Wolves have had this year, will be looking at possibly breaking into the top six. It will obviously be difficult, but that is the aspiration.
“We did it at Blackburn under Mark Hughes; it was an incredible achievement, and for us, that was a massive success.
“But now, in this era of Premier League football where Man City, Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs will all be strong again next season; to break into that top six now for a club like Wolves would be very tough.
“I think to do that, one of those top six will need to have an off-season – something very similar to when Leicester won the league. That’s how hard it is now, because all the top teams will want to improve, making it very difficult. But if Wolves were to do it, that would be an incredible achievement.”
Where do you believe Wolves need to improve on for next season?
“Wolves have got a strong, small core group of players who have rotated. When Leicester won the league, one of the key reasons was the small size of their squad, as well as the top sides having an off-year and getting lucky with injuries and suspensions.
“Wolves have been very similar to that this season, using the smallest number of players in the league, but I think they will need to bring in three or four players of real quality during the summer to make competition in the squad stronger.
“Wolves will finish the season seventh in the Premier League after getting to the semi-final of the FA Cup, so the club will be a very attractive proposition for players.
“I think it’s always harder in your second season in the Premier League, but Wolves have shown they can handle the pressure – they did the double over a resurgent Manchester United team in the space of three weeks.
“Every game Wolves go into, you can see they enjoy it, they want to play the right way and play with a freedom under a great manager.
“The Wolves fans who ring up 606 are so passionate and it’s a great club that I wish the best for.”