Tuesday night’s narrow defeat to Everton, deserving more from the game and a rare Ruben Neves goal from inside the penalty area were just some of the topics discussed on the latest episode of Wolves’ Matchday Live Extra show.
Joining Mikey Burrows was regular co-commentator and ex-Wolves full-back Andy Thompson, were the regular pundits in former old gold players in goalkeeper Carl Ikeme and striker Chris Iwelumo, who analysed the Premier League loss to the Toffees.
Also joining the panel were special guests including former Everton midfielder Gareth Barry, and ex-Wolves pair Rohan Ricketts and Adam Proudlock as the team discussed Adama Traore’s importance as well as what Morgan Gibbs-White would have learned while on loan at Swansea City.
On missing Traore in attack
Thompson said: “He was really good on Friday [against Crystal Palace], he was the big threat and scored a stunning goal coming in from that right-hand side and scoring it with his left.
“But just before he came off, he was sitting down on the pitch, so there was definitely something wrong with him, so I’m not surprised he’s not involved. Because of the cold weather, if it is something like a soft tissue injury, it’s going to be a problem, so they’re not going to put him in any risk at all. They’ve pulled him out of the game, but let’s hope he’s back sooner rather than later.
“What he did on Friday night was what we’ve been waiting for from Traore, to come alive, get that goal, and he certainly did that.”
On bouncing back from the first Everton goal
Ikeme said: “Iwobi had a lot of space, and if there’s any criticism, although I don’t think there can be much because it’s been a good game of football and a very good performance, is that there was a bit of a gap when Everton did break in the centre of the pitch.
“You can’t allow anyone in the Premier League that kind of space because you do get punished, but the reaction from that was brilliant and a very important reaction. To get that bounce back reaction straight away was what we needed.
“We’ve been getting bodies into the box and with Fabio’s chance which brought out a good save, we’ve looked threatening.”
On Neves’ first open play goal from inside the box
Iwelumo said: “I think he’s been outstanding in the last couple of games, he’s getting it deep, his distribution has been excellent and he’s still getting himself in the box.
“To get a goal like that is something that we all said after the Sheffield United game, can he do that, can he go box to box, can he make his play, can he get in the box, can he score goals in the box, and he’s got all the answers for us at the moment.”
Ikeme added: “It should not be underestimated how much of a tough finish that was, especially with the amount of pace on the ball.”
Score a goal. Receive a telling off...— Wolves (@Wolves) January 12, 2021
On an ‘unlucky’ defeat for Wolves
Ikeme said: “Although we had more possession, Everton controlled the second-half without the ball, but even saying that, I don’t believe we deserved to lose the game. It’s not been going for us at the minute and we’re losing games that we deserve to draw and drawing games we deserve to win.
“I know the lads will be gutted because they would be feeling the same, they will feel like they didn’t deserve that, but there are always moments on the pitch when you’ll be thinking you could have done better.”
Iwulumo added: “In the second-half, I don’t think we were as dominant, and Everton definitely looked a lot more dangerous. The first-half showed the small margins in the game, you really need to take your chances in what is the best league in the world. But if we’d have held on at the end and came away with a point, I think everyone would’ve felt it was a fair result.”
On searching for a match-winner
Thompson said: “We’re just waiting for Neto to do something. You’re left thinking where that spark going to come from, apart from apart from Neto.
“That’s the problem that we’ve got at the moment. Everton tried to nullify him, and then we don’t have anything else going forward. Godfrey marked him pretty well, and had a bit more luck when he switched sides, but unless he does something, which we know he can, we just don’t look like scoring.”
Ikeme added: “You’re just thinking when Neto gets the ball, ‘Please do something, please do something’ instead of having three or four attacking players who can make that difference, because however good a Morgan Gibbs-White is, he’s not the match-winner that Raul, Traore and Podence are.”
On Gibbs-White’s development at Swansea
Ikeme said: “It’s sometimes difficult going into a new changing room because you are so used to being at Wolves, and he’s been at Wolves for a long time now, so he’d have got used to being in your comfort zone and not having to make new friends.
“You also have to figure people out and gain respect in the changing room as well, so these are all elements that he would’ve had to have added to his maturity; moving to a new area, settling in to a new area, and learning a new style of football. He’s been so used to being under Nuno for so long and how Nuno works, it’s getting used to a new manager, a new coach and a new way of playing, and all this will only improve his skills on the pitch and improve his maturity off the pitch as well.
“Although not all of my loan spells went well, in all honesty, I learned a lot from all of them, and when I look back in hindsight, they did me the world of good.”
To rewatch the latest Matchday Live Extra show from Tuesday, click here.