O'Neil | 'I want us to enjoy the moment with the supporters'

Gary O’Neil wants his Wolves side to end their Molineux campaign on a high on Saturday so the players can repay the supporters for sticking by his team throughout the season.

With just one win from their last nine in all competitions, O’Neil admits the fans have endured an ‘incredibly tough’ spell watching the team, and as they step out at home one final time this season against Crystal Palace, the head coach is hoping his side can send the supporters home happy with a positive result.

On one final game at Molineux

“It’s been an incredibly tough couple of months for them [the fans], I can feel it, and I knew it would be. I was trying to explain after that Fulham game where we beat them at home when they had a fully fit squad and we had basically nobody available to us, that it was an incredible result and the next few months were going to be really testing for everyone – the players, myself and the fans – and it has been.

“We’ve still managed to come out of it with some credit, and I know when you look at it as a whole, one win in nine, then it looks bad, but there’s been plenty of positives in the tough time and the fans have been incredible.

“I did worry that because of the highs earlier in the season, that it would be a difficult spell for them, but they’ve stuck right by the team. The team kept fighting and with the noise around the place you wouldn’t know we were on a run of one win in nine. Their backing and the support has been incredible and we’ve tried to keep that connection by showing that we’re still ready to fight no matter what. There’s no quit here. No-one’s given up and we’re going to go right until the end.

“Tomorrow is the day I’m looking forwards to mainly for that. I want the game to go well enough so we can enjoy the final whistle and enjoy the moment with the supporters because I know how difficult the season has been for them. They’ve given us so much this year, I’m hoping and working my socks off this week to give them one last real good experience at Molineux and they can enjoy their summer holidays.”

On Neto and Bueno’s availability

“We’re looking pretty good. Santi only trained on Friday last week, so wasn’t available to start at City, but he’s feeling fine now. Pedro still won’t be involved tomorrow. He’s training but he’s maybe not done enough at high speeds to be able to guarantee that it’s not a risk for him, so there’ll be no Pedro.

“Apart from that we’re pretty good, obviously Daws is still out, but JJ [Bellegarde] is back around it and there are no new issues. We are in a stronger place, so we can start to see some more attacking intent, rhythm and flow to the team for tomorrow, although Channy [Hwang] and Matheus Cunha are still new back.

“They’re not up to full speed – Cunha’s calf is still causing him problems, but he’s desperate to be out there and helping the group, and Channy is still working his way back to looking more like the Channy we saw before the Asia Cup, but we’re in a much stronger place and hopefully we can show everyone that tomorrow.”

On the impact of injuries this season

“The momentum shows that it’s impacted us. There are no excuses because we know all teams suffer injuries, but to have no forwards available for a large part of the season is tough. The Premier League is a tough league to score goals in and even then, if we did manage to find some answers, it would cause us to be more exposed at the back, so we’d concede more chances, so it was a tough balancing act to find a way to be a Premier League table with no attacking players.

“But over the course of the season, 46 points so far, the opportunity to get to 49 tomorrow is a good season from where we were and where we’ve been. You look at the things the club have had to deal with this year, and it’s been a fantastic achievement from this group of players, but we want to push on. I don’t want it to be seen that we’ve done ok this year, and everyone can go off happy – it’s something we want to build on.”

On the threat Palace pose

“It’s going to be difficult because Crystal Palace are one of the form teams in the Premier League at the moment. The combination of a new coach and fresh ideas, and they’ve got Eze and Olise back, Guehi coming back, Roy Hodgson did a fantastic job at that football club for a very long time, so I think the changes in form are not only due to the change in coach, but I think Roy would also say that he would’ve improved results if Olise and Eze were back. They’re both massive to them.

“It’s a combination of having a good coach with fresh ideas and having their best players available for them, so it’s going to be a big test for us. They’re on a good run, but it’s the last home game of the season for us and we want it to be enjoyable for us and for our fans.

“We’re really keen to create a really good atmosphere and send everyone off from the end of the home season in a really positive frame of mind. To go out on home on a high after the achievements of the year would be fantastic for everybody, so there’s been a real focus on ourselves and the way we perform tomorrow.”

On the summer transfer plans

“It will be a conversation after the last game against Liverpool. I can speak to Jeff [Shi] with Matt [Hobbs] and we can see exactly what can and can’t be done this summer. I’m sure things will start to move and progress.

“I have a really clear idea about what I’d like to do with the playing group, as does Matt, but until we sit down and start to unravel it all in detail then it’s impossible to know at this stage what exactly we’re going to be able to do.

“It won’t be the same as last year, where we had to sell loads and make a huge profit, but I don’t expect it to be a spending spree. We’re going to have to work really well in the summer and do some really good business and find some stuff which helps us. But I can assure you, we’ll be doing everything we can and working very hard all summer to try and put the club in the best place possible to give the fans the best team we can come August.”