Wolves’ first home win of the season, Hee Chan Hwang’s brace and getting points when not playing at their best were just some of the topics discussed on the latest episode of Matchday Live Extra.
Joining Mikey Burrows was co-commentator and Wolves Hall of Fame full-back Andy Thompson and Wolves Women legend Claire Hakeman as they analysed a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at Molineux, which secured successive Premier League wins for Bruno Lage’s men.
The trio also spoke about Leander Dendoncker losing his place to Ruben Neves in the Wolves midfield and Raul Jimenez’s partnership with Hwang.
On points being more important than performances
Thompson said: “For me, the results are the most important things. In the first few games, we played really well, created plenty of opportunities and couldn’t score that decisive goal.
“It’s good if we can we try to get the performance alongside the result, as you saw what it did to the crowd in those early games, but at the moment, the performance is not the important part – the results are.”
Hakeman added: “Getting points on the board early in the season is massive. It settles the nerves of the players and, in turn, the performances will come when the players have their confidence.
“You could see last week, they were a little bit shaky early on, and as soon as the goal came, the confidence lifted.”
Weekends with 3️⃣ points.— Wolves (@Wolves) October 3, 2021
On rotating the midfield
Thompson said: “Dendoncker can feel hard done by with the way things have gone because I thought he played reasonably well last week and he gave us that bit of power in the midfield, and the way of going box to box how we know he can do, getting to both ends of the pitch.
“I’m surprised, to say the least, but Bruno must believe Neves is the man that’s going to perform today and get a result for him.”
Hakeman added: “Neves has had a great start to the season, and maybe in the last couple of games he was falling out of form, so I can see why Dendoncker came in and he got his goal and assist against Spurs in the League Cup, so he deserved his start against Southampton.
“It’s interesting combinations for Bruno, he’s only just come in and he’s getting to know the players, and he’ll want to try every aspect and see what works for him.”
On three points at home
Thompson said: “We looked comfortable in that first-half, especially when we got the goal, and although the equaliser was poor to give away, Hwang stepped up again with his second goal.
“It wasn’t a great performance, but it was all about the result and getting the three points because you could hear the fans at the end and what they thought about it. They won’t be bothered about how well we’ve played, they’ll be bothered about the result.”
Hakeman added: “You can tell they’re in a bit of a panic because we want to get those points on the board, so we can then enjoy playing our football like we’ve done previously. We had a spell in the first-half after we scored when we looked great, we dominated, everything was going for it, but then we got our confidence knocked.
“It became very scrappy in the second-half, and it was a bit of a battle, but we’ve got to take positives from these displays and I believe the performances will come.
A 🔝 all-round performance. 🔢— Wolves (@Wolves) October 4, 2021
On Hwang and Jimenez’s partnership
Thompson said: “It’s what we’ve been after. When losing Jota and then losing Jimenez through injury last season, we never really had that strike force up there who could score a lot of goals for us.
“We’re hoping the two of them can combine like they did because it’s promising to see. Although Jimenez got the two assists, he won’t be happy he hasn’t scored, but you can see there might be a chance that the two of them have a good understanding straight away and can supply goals for each other this season.”
Hakeman added: “Jimenez was fantastic. His work rate was the best I’ve seen this season in terms of looking like it had clicked for him. His link-up play was phenomenal and the way he linked up with Hwang was fantastic and we just need to fill that third birth in the front three with Podence, Traore or Trincao.”
On a composed brace for Hwang
Thompson said: “That’s a goalscorer for you. You’ve not got to smash every shot you have, you’ve just got to put it into an area where it’s very difficult for the goalkeepers. What he did for both goals, he’s cut across it before the goalkeepers got himself set.
“He’s got enough room to get it through the players’ legs and that comes from a natural goalscorer. He’s done exactly the same kind of finish for both goals and put it into the far corner. You’ve not got to try and break the net every time.”
Hakeman added: “One of our major problems this season is that we haven’t been clinical in front of goal, but that’s been broken by Hwang – he’s had two chances and he’s scored two great goals with convincing finishes. When he was in that position, we thought he was going to score.
“Up until now, we’ve had so many chances, we were never totally convinced that we were going to put the ball in the back of the net. But he has got this vibe of confidence and if this partnership can really click and push on, then we can really move on up the league table.”
You can watch Matchday Live Extra 30 minutes before every Wolves kick-off this season, on Twitter and on Wolves TV, before heading over to the Wolves App following full-time for all the post-match reaction.