Friday evening’s win over Southampton, Rui Patricio’s stunning performance and needing a bit of luck were just some of the topics discussed on the latest episode of Matchday Live Extra.
Joining Mikey Burrows was co-commentator and former-Wolves full-back Andy Thompson, as well as regular pundits in the form of ex-old gold players Sam Ricketts and Chris Iwelumo, who analysed the Premier League victory at Molineux.
Also joining the panel were special guests including former Leeds defender Danny Mills, ex-Wolves man Micky Gray and Wolves captain Conor Coady, as the team discussed nullifying the threat of the opposition as well as the big loss of Kalvin Phillips to Leeds.
On needing to take the game to Leeds
Ricketts said: “Leeds have been the opposite to Wolves, and Wolves struggle when a team plays with intensity against them. Wolves are very steady and measured in all their play and when a team really gets after Wolves and presses high, they’ve struggled to get a foothold in the game.
“When we’ve seen performances improve during a game – we saw it in the second-half against Southampton – it’s because the tempo picks up. Thommo mentions it all the time in commentary. When we get a better tempo and we press higher up, with more energy about us, we do look a better team.
“We’re very used to setting up with a flat back five straight away as soon as we lose the ball, which gives us less players to press, but when we’re a little bit more adventurous, a little more aggressive in our play, it takes the team on again.”
On an entertaining first-half
Ricketts said: “For a nil-nil game, it was end-to-end, loads of shots, a lot from distance, which is something we’ve been asking Wolves to do for a long time, but I still think they can be a little bit more aggressive.
“Troare and Neto have the beating of any of Leeds’ back four, but as a whole, one of the biggest things we can take out of the game is that I’ve never seen Leeds look so tame. Wolves have contained them and not allowed them to play at their blistering tempo. The game has been dictated by Wolves, which has been hard to do.”
Iwelumo added: “Leeds were marshalling Neto and Traore very well and they have to be more aggressive in the second-half, but I’ve been very impressed. We’ve used the ball well, we’ve broke well and we’ve looked the more threatening. Now, it’s about taking chances.”
On needing a bit of luck for the winner
Iwelumo said: “It was fortunate, but it was a professional performance. We had the better of it in the first-half, second-half, Leeds definitely upped the quality and upped the tempo of the match, but we weathered it.
“I was just looking at that Bamford offside decision again and it’s just his kneecap that’s off. But those are the small margins of football. It was a fantastic strike from Traore, disappointed that it doesn’t go on his goal tally because it’s an own goal. We were very fortunate tonight, but we worked hard, had glimpses of quality and another clean sheet.”
Ricketts added: “The performance was brilliant. We’ve tamed a side which are normally hell for leather, and yet, they looked a completely different team tonight. I’ve never seen them, throughout a 90 minutes, not been allowed to play there way. Wolves controlled the game and you’re waiting for a moment of magic, and it turns out to be a huge slice of fortune.”
On a big 100th Premier League game for Patricio
Thompson said: “If you say he’s in the way of everything Leeds did, then it’s down to good goalkeeping. It’s about his positional sense as well.
“Copper, the centre-half, had about three chances himself, but the delivery from Raphinha was absolutely brilliant and it was the thing that hurt Wolves, but we got the clean sheet and that gives you the chance of winning the game, as it did.”
Iwelumo added: “Patricio was fantastic and made a couple of brilliant saves, but that’s what he’s there to do. He’ll say to us that it’s his job. Cooper could have had a couple, but they were straight at him, but at the end, he pulled off some fantastic saves. We had a bit of luck, but our goalkeeper has definitely won us the points tonight.”
On Neves stepping up in recent weeks
Thompson said: “I’ve said time and time again that I’d like to see him play 15 yards further up the field because of what he offers with his shooting, even though he hasn’t scored many from long range for a while.
“But he’s a threat and he’s definitely got that ability. Being further up the field as well means he can start to pick out those passes and he’s done it numerous times throughout the games, and with his work rate, he’s working hard and that’s been an improvement for me and his mobility has been a lot better recently, but there’s no doubting his ability and passing range. When he’s on the mark, he can put a pass anywhere.”
Iwelumo added: “He’s been very consistent in the last six to ten matches. It’s very much down to who his partner is, whether it’s Dendoncker or Moutinho, when they’re at it, it allows them to get forward and pick balls up on the edge of the box and that’s the balance. He’s going to sit, but when it’s on to goal, can he arrive in the box and can he get there at the right time, and he’s been doing it perfectly.”
On Kalvin Phillips being a big miss for Leeds
Mills said: “It’s huge. He’s the glue that holds everything together in that team. You saw in the last game against Arsenal that Bielsa has been the expert at tinkering with the side and putting square pegs in round holes and making it work.
“But you take Kalvin Phillips out and it just unbalances the side. They didn’t look the same team because losing Kalvin Phillips is a huge blow.
“The way Leeds play, it sometimes leaves them with a huge gaping hole in the middle of the pitch, which makes it very difficult to defend against, but when it goes wrong, it’s so difficult to play against.”
To rewatch the latest Matchday Live Extra show from Friday, click here.