Lambert hails all-round display
Paul Lambert tonight hailed an “outstanding” Wolves performance as goals in either half from Helder Costa and Matt Doherty secured a 2-0 win at Premier League Stoke City.
There were many individual headlines behind what was ultimately a superb team display, including the excellent goals, performances of returning Mike Williamson and Lee Evans, and also some “world-class” goalkeeping from Carl Ikeme.
Not to mention, with the game delicately poised at 1-0, Lambert sending on a 16-year-old in Morgan Gibbs-White who becomes the first Wolvers player from this Millennium to make an appearance.
“We played really well from start to finish,” said the Head Coach.
“We had to start the game well because we are up against a really good side with some incredible footballers who could hurt us.
“The way the lads stuck to the gameplan and the level they played at was outstanding.
“The first goal was brilliant from a player doing ever so well week-in week-out at the moment.
“Doherty then comes up with an outstanding free kick.
“We are playing with a lot of confidence and are in a good place at the moment.
“The team is very strong here, very close together, and there is a great team spirit.
“The players and the crowd are bouncing off each other now – the place is unified and that is important for everybody.
“Everybody is working together and doing their best.”
On the changes made to the side which performed so well at Sheffield Wednesday, Lambert added: “I had to make the changes because of all the games we have had over the Christmas period and some of the lads have played in all of them.
“And we needed to make sure players have game time.
“I thought it was time to bring Mike and Lee back in.
“Mike was superb.
“I think he was a bit over-cautious in the first half but he has been out for 14 months and had been thrown into that environment, away from home against a Premier League team with the crowd behind them
“It was a monumental thing to do and the way he came through it was brilliant.
“Lee hasn’t been fit while I have been in at the club and he came in and did well.
“And then we had a 16-year-old coming off the bench who is a big talent and certainly wasn’t here just to make up the numbers.
“He is only a baby starting out, but he can play, and then there is
Bright Enobakhare, who is only 18, but almost gets overlooked because he is playing every week.
“I have played a few others as well in Connor Ronan and Harry Burgoyne and I think there are one or two more from that group who could step up as well.
“Football these days is about a squad, its not just about 13 or 14 players.
“If we can keep that togetherness and competitive edge then we are a really good side.”
And what about Ikeme, who produced some saves right out of the top drawer with Wolves 1-0 ahead.
“There were some world class saves from Carl,” said Lambert.
“He is a terrific goalkeeper and but also a terrific lad and that is important.
“He didn’t have too much to do in the first half but in the second half we came under a barrage which we knew would happen.
“His performance was exceptional.”
Lambert was also full of praise for a terrific level of support from the 4,600 travelling fans who never stopped driving their team on throughout the afternoon.
He is confident the club is heading in the right direction.
“The fans were brilliant,” he enthused.
“It is a big club, and has been up and down from the Premier League which I understand.
“It has a huge fanbase and I think the fans can recognise that we are working hard and we are growing towards our full potential here.
“You need time in a football club to put your stamp on it.
“It can’t happen in three or four weeks, probably not even three or four months - often you need a full season to get your points across.
“We have been working hard and there is a lot of confidence in the group and good young players here.
“When a club loses its manager it is a little bit down and sombre and the mood swings.
“It is important then to get it lively again but our performances have been good over the last few weeks and we are moving in the right direction.”
*Wolves’ win today means the home game with Huddersfield Town, scheduled for Saturday, January 28th, will now be re-scheduled. Huddersfield also made Emirates FA Cup progress against Port Vale.