Gaffer says players reacted well to Barnsley analysis
Walter Zenga has praised the reaction of his players to Tuesday’s shock late collapse against Barnsley as the team prepares for one of the toughest fixtures of the season at Newcastle United tomorrow (3pm).
Pre-season favourites for promotion to the Premier League, the Magpies have been in scintillating form in responding to opening the campaign with back-to-back defeats, chalking up six successive wins and not conceding in five.
But Zenga says Wolves, chastened by that 4-0 defeat, are concentrating only on themselves and making sure they perform far better at St James’ Park.
"Every time you take a lesson and every time you have to learn about the game,” says the Head Coach,
"We have to think about what happened in the last 15 minutes of the game.
"For the first 70 minutes it was 0-0 and we created chances to score, we had some good things.
"But then, also with my change (Ivan Cavaleiro for Dominic Iorfa), we created unbalance in the team.
"But what we analyse was the last 15 minutes because you cannot give up in this way and let someone, especially in your house, score four goals.
“The reaction has been fantastic.
“You have to analyse immediately what you did.
“We had a great meeting, good training and we remove immediately what happened.
"We analyse every time what we did during a game.
“It's easy for me to show something when you win - you can say 'hey look guys everything is great'.
"But when you lose you have to be attentive to what you say. And as a coach you have to be direct, concrete in your words and easy to understand.
"I think that we understand. It's not that 'they' lost the game and 'we' understand where there was a mistake. 'We' lost the game, everybody.
"We analysed and closed the chapter."
Now then it’s a league and EFL Cup double header with the division’s in-form team, with Wolves staying up in the North East to take in both fixtures and avoid excessive travelling.
Two tough assignments, and Zenga knows the various threats tomorrow’s hosts will pose.
He believes the players will relish the challenge.
"Talking about another team (Newcastle) is always difficult,” he said.
“My philosophy is that we're concentrating on my team and what we have to do.
"Talking about Newcastle and what they are, or the atmosphere or the coach, is useless, because everybody knows.
"They are a famous club, have a big stadium, and that's why for me it's the right game for us in the right moment.
"The fact you know some (opposition) players better or not doesn't help you. “For example, someone can think they didn't know the players of Barnsley, and they lost the game.
"It's not true because I can tell you all the things about the players of Barnsley.
"We can also say he (Rafa Benitez) doesn't have experience of the Championship! No, just joking. He's one of the top managers. His last team was Real Madrid!"
Zenga has no fresh injury worries to contend with and has indicated that the absence of Romain Saiss and Ola John has been due to the pair needing to increase their sharpness after very little football prior to joining Wolves.
More importantly, it will be the sum of the parts that Zenga will be looking for as he hopes to see more team togetherness than was perhaps in evidence in Tuesday’s final stages.
"That's why I was upset after the last game,” he says.
“Team spirit is a thing that you never give up.
"Today I told the players that yesterday we watched the Europa League and one team (Zenit) was with 15 minutes left 3-0 down and they win 4-3.
"They scored one goal, the other team complains - one yellow card. Three minutes left, a second yellow card (and a red), then from the free kick it's 3-2 and the game reopened.
"You never know when is the end. You have to continue to play."
*Tomorrow’s game is SOLD OUT for Wolves fans and supporters without tickets are urged not to travel to the stadium.