Gaffer's thoughts ahead of tough trip to Brighton
Walter Zenga has readied his Wolves side for a stern test at Brighton tonight (7.45pm), keen to put this season’s midweek misery behind them.
Wolves have taken only one point from three Tuesday league fixtures so far this season, but ‘what’s done is done’ is one of the Head Coach’s key philosophies, and he is confident his team can bring that bad run to an end.
Repeating the second half against Norwich, and performance at Aston Villa, are more the focus of his concentration as Wolves aim to close the gap between themselves and the fourth placed Seagulls this evening.
“I do not know why it has happened on Tuesday, that we haven’t had the same level of performances,” says Zenga.
“There does seem to be crazy results in all the division.
“But that is what happens in the past.
“It doesn’t mean it should happen again in the future.
“The main question for the coach is always whether you rest players or they can keep going.
“The statistics say that on Tuesday we don’t really play a good game so we have to see and I will decide after training and speaking to the medical staff and the players.
“I have a good relationship with the players, very open and honest.
“Of course if I say to someone ‘are you tired?’ they will reply, ‘no, I want to play’.
“But now I feel we are in the way that honesty is the best way for us.
“I will talk to them and I will say.
“Now after two months, I think when they say ‘good morning’ I will know whether they are good or they are not!
“We now want the same spirit, attitude and courage and can show that at Brighton.
“What is done is done, and so now we have to do it again.
“What I saw in the last game and the second half against Norwich was the passion and being proud to be in the team.
“This is what the fans want, and the players showed that they want to do something good and this is what we ask of them.”
Brighton were beaten play-off semi finalists last season, and have started well this time around, beaten only once at home so far this season.
Zenga has plenty of respect for their capabilities, but is also focused on his own team reproducing some of the impressive form already shown on the road so far this season.
“Brighton are a good team who are above us in the table,” he says.
“They have a nice stadium and they play good football under a good manager.
“Last year they were very close to being promoted and they continue to play well so this is a very good test.
“They are confirming what they did last season.
“They are in the play off positions, and we are not.
“So it is a very important game for us to confirm what we did on Saturday.
“Derby games are very important, but Brighton are in front of us, and Villa were behind us, which is strange because they are a very big club who were in the Premier League.
“Brighton did a great job last year and have confirmed they are a very good team with character and style.
“We have to think about ourselves and show again the passion, being proud to play for Wolves and the attitude that we will run until the last minutes of the game.
“This is what we are looking for.”
Wolves did not have the rub of the green of the refereeing decisions in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Villa Park, particularly in what looked like a clear penalty when Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was bundled over in the second half.
Zenga says they must continue to persevere, and that with continuing hard work they will also pick up the fortune they deserve as well.
“We couldn’t have done much more on Saturday, and if we continue to play in the same way and with the same passion all the episodes that haven’t worked out for us will turn onto our side,” he explains.
“We will enjoy that one day but to do that we have to continue to play in the same way and it won’t be just down to luck.
“As someone said to me when I first worked as a coach in the US, luck stands for ‘labour under correct knowledge’!
“In this moment I prefer to be lucky than good!
“But no, my philosophy is always the same.
“The good work, working hard, doing a good job, the passion, if you do that every day in training and on the field then in the long term the luck will come to you.
“I think that we are in the right way and are starting to show that we are a team in all our positions from the staff through to everybody.
“The team reflect the job and we can start to see something good – you can see for example how Helder Costa has improved in the last period.
“My wish is to continue in this way.”
Wolves are still without Lee Evans and also have a doubt over striker Joe Mason.
*Wolve fans can still purchase tickets for tonight’s game, either on the telephone from Brighton, or on the gate at the Amex Stadium before kick off. To book by phone and collect call0844 327 1901 (option 1). Supporters should indicate that they wish to sit with visiting fans when they book.
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We now want the same spirit, attitude and courage and can show that at Brighton