James Collins believed his Wolves under-23 side should have taken more than just a point from their Black Country derby clash with West Bromwich Albion at Molineux.
Chem Campbell, wearing the captain’s armband on the evening, had an eventful night in front of 3,000 supporters inside the stadium, getting Wolves off to a bright start with a headed effort before lashing out late on to receive a straight red card, as Kenneth Zahore’s equaliser rescued a point for the visitors.
Head coach Collins was delighted with the performance of his players, but – as has been the case in recent weeks – his side have not gone away with the result their displays may have warranted.
On a derby day draw
“Mixed emotions. I just said to the boys in there that I don’t know how to approach the post-match talk. I thought our structure and our game plan worked brilliantly. I thought we were excellent first-half against what is a really good team who are right up there in the league.
“I thought we played good football, I thought we entertained, and I thought we started the second-half reasonably well, we got a bit slack with our passing at times, and then they scored from the only real chance they had.
“We didn’t quite get the two-v-two bit right on the wing, and a league centre-forward gets in between you and heads it in. We’ll look at that, but I can’t be too critical of the back players because I thought they were excellent.
“At 1-1, it was even-stevens and game on again. I thought we got the control back, and then Chem got himself sent off and it’s a different game. But with ten men, I thought we created the better chances and could have won the game.
“I’m delighted with the players, delighted with the performance. There’s still lots to work on but there is that tinge of disappointment that it’s a game that, at half-time, I wouldn’t have taken a 1-1 draw.”
On playing in front of the Molineux fans
“A lot of ours haven’t played on the Molineux pitch much, I’m sure some of them haven’t ever played here before.
“The temperament they showed, the bravery to play they showed, the supporters who came out to support us on bonfire night, they were terrific.
“I spoke to the boys before and said those fans could’ve been anywhere tonight, but they’ve come here to support you. It’s really touching that we’ve got that support and hopefully they’re going to go home thinking we’ve got some good kids.”
On Campbell’s sending off
“Chem is maturing really well. He had an early rise to the top and he’s had a tough time in the 12 months before the last six months.
“But in the last six months, he’s shown real maturity. I wouldn’t have given him the captain’s armband if I didn’t think that.
“I’ve not seen [the incident], but if he’s raised his hands to a face, whether it’s a slap, a punch, even just a hand to the face – you can’t do that. When someone grabs you, the temptation is to shove them off, but you’ve got to shove them low.
“He’s got to learn, and I’m sure he will. Chem isn’t the petulant boy he once was, he’s much more mature. He’s a good kid and he will learn from it.”
Thanks for your brilliant support at Molineux tonight 👏— Wolves Academy (@WolvesAcademy) November 5, 2021
On playing with ten men
“I was going to change the shape, I was going to go 4-4-1, but I just waited a couple of minutes and I thought we were doing alright, so I thought to leave it for a minute.
“The structure and the system helps because the lads know it well, and if you’re going to lose one, it’s up the top, you’ve not lost anything in the main part of the team.
“But I thought they handled the last 15 minutes well. Hesketh had a chance; I’ve seen him lob the goalie there in training before, but he just didn’t have the legs to do it. But I can’t remember them having an opportunity, so I’m delighted with how the boys have played.”