Gaffer's Crawley pre-match preview
Walter Zenga says every game in which he steps into the Molineux dugout will be “emotional” – but is keen to make that first step a winning one when Wolves welcome Crawley Town in the EFL Cup.
Wolves host the Sky Bet League Two side tonight (7.45pm), hoping to build on the momentum of a strong second half in Saturday’s Championship curtain-raiser in which they fought back to draw 2-2 at Rotherham, despite being reduced to ten men.
And Zenga is keen to make progress and avoid being the victims of the sort of upset Wolves have suffered regularly in this competition in recent years.
“It is going to be emotional but I tell you something, it is going to be emotional every time, not only the first time,” said the Head Coach.
“The first time is special because it’s the first.
“Then I love to be involved in any game and will be happy for any game inside Molineux.
“The first time is always exciting. I think as a coach I have to think game by game without being enthusiastic or sad or nervous for some result that doesn’t come.
“The cup is very important for us – we are fully concentrating on this game.
“The Rotherham game is past, but we do have to learn from it.
“My philosophy is that sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.”
“In my opinion if the manager or the coach is here for two years you (still) learn something.
“You have to push your players all the time to the next level.
“It was special for how the game goes 2-0 to them then 2-1, then down to 10 men and we drew, and was close to winning the game.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere.
“And in the first half I learned a lot about what we can do better.
“Normally we can talk about mistakes, but also we must think that the opposing team can play very well.
“We had a discussion about this situation and we have to learn from it.
“My priority is the next game.
“The next game is the League Cup and it’s 100 per cent important from us.
“We’re fully concentrated to make a good result and go as long as we can (in the competition).”
It is always a matter for debate, particularly during a busy August, as to whether bosses shuffle their packs for the early cup fixtures.
Zenga was poised to make his final decision on that subject after yesterday’s final training session, although already planning without Dominic Iorfa, set to serve a one game suspension for his dismissal at the New York Stadium unless Wolves won their appeal.
“You have to weigh up playing the first XI to give continuity (or) to give also a chance to the other players that doesn’t play to be involved in the project,” Zenga explained.
“Personally I think it is better to give to everybody a chance to be involved.
“Because you need everybody (during the season).
“Even if there are changes the players on the pitch will give 100 per cent and be competitive because we want to give the fans the satisfaction to try and go as long as we can in the cup.
“We have to evaluate the situation. We have some idea about it.
“There are two ways – go with the same XI or make some changes and give everyone a chance to be fit with 90 minutes.
“It’s a discussion with our technical staff, medical staff and of course with the players. Everybody must be involved with any decision.
”A game every three games is a challenge.
"If you take a look at the first results in the Championship, some teams they lost but it’s not a drama because it’s a very long season.
“Forty-six games is a long season. Probably sometimes we’ll be down or up.
“Of course we’re working to try and keep the same high level.
“It’s important to prepare one good starting XI. We have to check physically how they feel and then make a competitive starting line up.
“My personal opinion is everybody must have a chance to show themselves to be involved in the season.
“What can happen during the season for the most important game you could have a player suspended or some player not in the right shape.
“You cannot (then) say to someone ‘I believe in you’ if they haven’t had one chance.
Zenga revealed that defender Silvio is facing a three week absence with a groin injury, but was impressed with the debut from the bench of Joao Teixeira on Saturday.
He says the squad will be treating Crawley with every respect, knowing they will be fired up to try and spring a surprise.
“The Crawley team is under the manager Dermot who is very experienced,” he said.
“He’s worked for two giant clubs in London - Arsenal and Chelsea.
“They have good organisation and players like (James) Collins the striker, (Jason) Bantom the left winger.
“They are a good team and we must prepare well, then respect everybody, but give 100 per cent and try and win the game.
“I have respect for everybody. It’s not important for me if they are second division...they are a team.
“We prepare for every game in the same way, all the time fully concentrated and also fully respectful of the opposition.”
*Tickets will be available on the turnstiles – cash only – in the Billy Wright Upper Tier. All other tickets must be purchased from the Ticket Office and fans purchasing are advised to allow plenty of time.
My personal opinion is everybody must have a chance to show themselves to be involved in the season.