‘They don’t understand the rules’ What Wolves’ rivals have said about them
What do Wolverhampton Wanderers’ opponents think of them?
Throughout the season we will bring you the pre or post match comments of rival managers in the Premier League and the cups to find out what they have to say about Wolves and their games against them.
Here’s what the opposition bosses have said about Wolves so far this term:
RAFAEL BENITEZ, NEWCASTLE UNITED
“I didn’t like the challenge at the end,” said Magpies boss Rafa Benitez.
“You have to protect the keeper. We have been here for years and it’s still very difficult to explain that.”
When asked if Newcastle should have had a free-kick after Boly’s challenge, the Spaniard added: “In England they don’t understand the rules so you can say whatever you want to say.”
SAM RICKETTS, SHREWSBURY
“I’m really proud of the players and they should be proud of themselves, we have pushed a Premier League side to the very end over two games, and even late on, we are had chances to force the game.
“We are disappointed not to win the game but you cannot ask more from the players. Having conceded away at Molineux in front of a packed house in the second minute, many teams would have crumbled.
“Steve Arnold has made a mistake that we all make, it was a slippy night and John Ruddy made one for their goal.”
MARCO SILVA, EVERTON
“When you lose a game like we lost this afternoon, playing at home and giving some easy things for our opponent, of course it’s tough.
“You know I’m the first one to say if our opponents do something really special and are playing better than us, I’m the first one to be fair with them and give them congratulations.
“But I see us giving everything too easily. From the first moment they could score coming from nowhere. It’s really tough for me.
“They scored a penalty and we must do something completely different in that moment. I do not know if it was a penalty or not.
“I understand they (the fans) expect to see a good afternoon and a good game.
“They want us to achieve the position in the table and I can imagine they are not happy. We must keep fighting to improve.
“We had a chance after we scored a good goal with Andre. But, again, after 44, 45 minutes of the first half, something we planned for with Jimenez attacking the ball, we didn’t even put even 50 per cent into that moment.
“I can see Jimenez challenge for that ball and he was completely alone in that moment. It’s something that’s not part of our plan and not like we wanted to do.
“More or less the same second half. We knew we would have to be patient and balanced because they are good on the counter-attack. It’s something they prepared to do.
“Again, with the ball in our possession we gave it away and they scored the third goal. This is something we are doing many, many times and something we have to realise.”
“Maybe we are paying the cost of having so many injured players that we cannot alter our starting XI.
“In the first half it was very tight, but after that I don’t understand what happened. It is difficult to find a reason for why we played so badly.
“These things can happen, there can be a lot of reasons but when you lose I don’t like to find excuses – we must become a competitive team as we were three weeks ago.”
SAM RICKETTS, SHREWSBURY
“Our players can take a lot from that. Neither side will have wanted a replay but we will have another game.
“Don’t write us off yet. We went to Stoke and won in a replay.”
CLAUDE PUEL, LEICESTER CITY
“It was an unbelievable game. I think we have a lot of different feelings in this game.
“We started with poor intentions and conceded two early goals. We didn’t manage the game at the end, we were naive in our goals and our management at the end of the game.”
“They defend deep with 10 men so it is not easy even with one more player. We have to be more aggressive to put the ball in the box. Kevin [de Bruyne] came on and crossed the ball 10 times.
“That is the way we have to play [in that situation]. If it is pass, pass, pass it is more difficult.”
JURGEN KLOPP, LIVERPOOL
“It’s all my responsibility – they had no rhythm,” Klopp told BBC Sport. “There were not a lot of good decisions from me – that’s how the days are sometimes.”
“It’s all good. Of course, we don’t want to lose football games but it’s nothing else.
“We saw after the City game four or five players got ill immediately. We tried everything and we wanted to give the boys confidence, but that didn’t really work out today. We’ve played worse, we’ve played better.”
ROY HODGSON, CRYSTAL PALACE
“I thought we were the team pushing for the goal and when we eventually got it I think we can say we deserved it.
“Jordan worked so hard and it was fitting he could score the goal that has eluded him and us for so long. I’m really pleased with the performance, the discipline and I’m delighted to win a game away from home because it makes the Christmas period quite a good one for us.”
MAURIZIO POCHETTINO, SPURS
“We know very well, the experience is if you are not 100 per cent in every single game in the Premier League, it can happen,” Pochettino said.
“It’s not enough to play 60, 70 minutes. You need to play 95 minutes your best. Like today, we dropped a little bit our energy and our focus and in the last 20 minutes we conceded three goals. That can happen.
“It can happen to us, it can happen to Wolves, to Liverpool, to Manchester City, that’s why it’s so tough to win the Premier League because you need to be consistent.
CLAUDIO RANIERI, FULHAM
“I am a little bit frustrated but the draw is right. Yes we missed the opportunity, but it’s OK.
“It was a good performance from my players, everyone understood the problem and was working for the problem.
“When you are bottom, you have to fight, take chances, continue to fight, I am satisfied with the performance. It was only the second match we have played with this system.”
JURGEN KLOPP, LIVERPOOL
“It was clear the whole game would be difficult. Everybody wants to press. We want to be compact but wide as well which makes it difficult.
“We defended it pretty well. The heavy rain was difficult for both teams. It was a big fight and we knew we needed to be ready.
“We will be training on Christmas morning so it is like every other day and we have Manchester City waiting so that will be really tough for the boys. We need to have different game plans but the boys showed they are ready for that.”
EDDIE HOWE, BOURNEMOUTH
“We had a lot of the ball,” Howe said. “Bar Josh King’s early chance I don’t think we created a clear-cut chance. Credit to Wolves, they were good defensively.
“We’re kicking ourselves about the goals we conceded and the fact that we weren’t able to break them down better.”
MAURIZIO SARRI, CHELSEA
I think that we played very well for 55 minutes. After the goal, it was an accident because we were in full control of the match. We were suddenly a different team, I don’t know why. I am really very worried, not for the result but for the fact we didn’t respond to the first goal.
If you had asked me the same question after 55 minutes I would say I was happy. We lost everything. It can happen, but I don’t think it. It was without reaction.
NEIL WARNOCK, CARDIFF CITY
“I could have talked all night.
“It would have been the same against anyone.
“Wolves were the best team in the league last year and we weren’t far behind them.
“I thanked the players for letting me have a nice birthday!”
DAVID WAGNER, HUDDERSFIELD
“It is obvious they are not a normal promotion team, they are on a different level to the teams that got promoted in the past.
“They have invested money, this is the truth, but they have done it smart. They play very well, they have a good idea and are very consistent in the personnel as well.
“They got promoted by a lot of points and they have been able to transform their form and quality into the Premier League, so they have done well so far.
“It was our idea to break their ball possession and, for this, we had to press them high, go in their face, be very aggressive, make it intense and show the right spirit.
“This is something they are not used to, that other teams have the ball, but this is not a day to talk about the manager’s game plan.”
UNAI EMERY, ARSENAL
Emery said Arsenal were ‘not happy’ with their point against Wolves
“It was not enough to get the win. But after we drew level we continued to take risks because we wanted to win. We are not happy with this point.
“In the first half they made it very hard.
“This team is very difficult to break down or to break their defensive lines and they transition very quickly. Our idea changed a little because we needed to take more risks.
“The team played with character and we had chances to draw before (we scored).”
Watch the hilarious Arsenal Fan TV rant after the draw at the Emirates
MAURICIO POCHETTINO, TOTTENHAM
Pochettino wants his players to learn from their lesson in Wolverhampton as Nuno’s men came within a whisker of embarrassing them
“I think we played well first half and it was under control in the second half.
“In the second half they pushed a lot to try and turn around the result.
“From the beginning they pushed up a lot and we conceded a few actions where Wolves were fantastic.
“From when we scored the third goal the stadium was like, ‘OK, 3-0, the game is over’, and in that moment a situation arrived from which we need to learn.
“We need to learn how to play seriously and not make a mistake. I am happy for the three points but disappointed and we can learn.”
CHRIS HUGHTON, BRIGHTON
Speaking pre-match, Hughton praised Wolves for their start to life back in the Premier League
“It’s too soon to say that (best yet) but that doesn’t take anything away from their start. If they are able to continue this form then that would probably be fact.
“They have been in some games outstanding, considering they are a newly promoted team.
“They were perhaps not at their best in the last game but I don’t think they could have done any more than they have already this season.
“Everybody is now more aware of the way they play, the strengths they’ve got. This is a very difficult league and they will have difficult periods.
“But you can only judge them on what they’ve done so far and they’ve been very good, tactically very good, a team that looks capable of scoring goals, but there are big tests to come for them.
“They’ve been consistent with the team that they’ve played, which means they haven’t had injuries, and every team at some stage will go through injuries. But I can only reiterate so far they have been outstanding.”
JAVI GRACIA, WATFORD
Gracia gave this response when asked how his side came out on top
“Playing against Wolves you know you have to defend well against the wing-backs because many times they are very deep and you need to defend those situations well.
“We know where we can find the spaces to play and I think we felt comfortable in the first half.
“We created good lines of passes and we created the possibility to have good possession, not only keeping the possession but also creating good chances to score.
“We think we did it better in the first half than the second. But in my opinion it was the complete game.”
Prior to this defeat Wolves had enjoyed a six match unbeaten run which resulted in Nuno collected September’s manager of the month award.
“Playing against Wolves is tough.
“They are playing really well this season, as well as last season, and playing really well against very good teams as well.
“It’s not easy. They didn’t concede many chances and are always compact and well organised.
“For me, today, it has been a very good game.”
ROY HODGSON, CRYSTAL PALACE
Hodgson cut a frustrated figure after Wolves won 1-0 at Selhurst Park
“They took a goal chance at a time in the game when they hadn’t created too much.
After that goal of course, they defended very well when we became more desperate as we chased that goal, and they were even more solid than they had looked.
“If we really put our finger on where we lost it, that first half performance when we really played very well, we had most of the possession and really the best of the game, but we didn’t take a chance to put us 1-0 in front.
“If we had got a goal, which I think we would have deserved, it would have made it harder for Wolves. As it was they got it and it made it harder for us.”
MARK HUGHES, SOUTHAMPTON
Hughes highlighted a difference in fortune between his side and Wolves following an even encounter which Nuno’s side won 2-0
“Frustrated is the right word.
“I think we came here with good intent to our play and I thought we were the dominant team in terms of possession and, for the most part, chances created as well.
“Unfortunately for us, the stat that counts is the two goals at the top of the page. We’re disappointed with the manner of the goals. We gave the Wolves players too much room to operate on a couple of occasions and we’ve conceded two goals.
“The first goal came at a time when we looked more likely to score. I thought we were fully engaged in a good game against a good Wolves side who’ve caused a lot of teams problems.
“At the moment that little bit of luck is lacking.
“The goals are a disappointment, clearly, but you can’t allow good players opportunities to get into key areas of the field by defending poorly.”
CLAUDE PUEL, LEICESTER
Puel praised his goalkeeper after a “tough game” against Wolves
“We have recruited [Ward] just for penalties. No, we know his quality, in training sessions. He is a fantastic keeper and it was a good opportunity for him to show his quality so I am happy for him.
“It was a tough game for the team and for him also because he didn’t have a lot to do in the game so he had to keep his concentration and his condition until the penalties, and he was very successful.”
JOSE MOURINHO, MANCHESTER UNITED
“They play how I like to play.
“It was like a World Cup final. I like my teams to have that attitude, but we didn’t.
“They played every ball, every second with the maximum intensity of their desire. We started poorly and started both halves at a low intensity.
“This is something you learn when you are a kid in the academy. This is a basic rule of football, unless you are playing in a weak league, with weak opponents.
“We were lucky to score the goal before them. We started the second half again at a low intensity and then we conceded a goal. We weren’t sharp enough in the last third. We didn’t create enough to win the game.”
“I liked my team’s performance against Tottenham. We got a point, but I didn’t like it today.
“One team was coming to play the game of their lives and the other was coming to relax.”
SEAN DYCHE, BURNLEY
Dyche’s team lost 1-0 at Moineux and he reckons Wolves are in no danger of relegation
“I thought they were the better side, definitely on the creative side of the game.
“Credit to them, they’re a good side. They’ve invested very well over the last couple of years and you can see it.
“I would be surprised if they were in any bother this season. You never know, because it’s a tough division, but I would be surprised.”
Claret goalkeeper Joe Hart was also full of praise for Wolves, saying: “That’s the best team I’ve ever played against, that’s come up from the Championship. They were absolutely awesome.”
“When I was out in China, I was always seeing what was happening in England and the Premier League.
“Nuno has done very good work in Wolverhampton, not only because of the promotion, but because of the points they won in the Championship, which is a very difficult competition.
“After that, I’ve seen the three games they’ve already played, and they are a team that believe in what they do, and they are continuing in the same way that they did last season.
“I think the team must play in the way they work every day and “Wolverhampton seem to play against every team in the same way. That’s the merit of their manager.”
JOS LUHUKAY, SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Luhukay claimed their Carabao Cup defeat to Wolves was a learning curve
“Wolves also made eight changes, they have priorities too. But the players they have contain the quality to cause problems.
“Both their goals came from problems down the side and this is the quality that Premier League sides have.
“But for my players, I think they gave everything tonight. The young players can see this game is a learning curve and for other players it is important to get some minutes into the legs.
“In possession we did well but could not break through, which they did, and I think that was the story of the game.”
PEP GUARDIOLA, MANCHESTER CITY
Guardiola was full of praise for Wolves after drawing 1-1 at Molineux
“The game is what we expected, a team that is organised.
“It is a good point for us, we knew the quality of the opponent and I think we created enough chances to win the game but that doesn’t count so in the end it is 1-1.
“That period in the first games, they are always tough games especially against newly promoted teams.
“I don’t like to play newly promoted teams. I prefer in November or December because their enthusiasm is that they are under pressure to play one of the contenders to win the Premier League, and of course they have an excellent manager.
“We knew that. That is why in some times we knew we could do better but we have to give credit to the opponents because we don’t play alone.”
MARCO SILVA, EVERTON
Silva’s Everton twice came from behind to draw 2-2 despite Phil Jagielka’s controversial sending off
“I saw fantastic attitude and fantastic spirit in our squad. Good organisation, even with the 10 players, I believe we were better. “They started strong, of course, like you know they can with fantastic motivation after what they did last season.
“We started to grow during the match.
“I think if somebody has to win it’s our team, but okay Wolves did very well as well. They’re a good team with good players.
“It was a pleasure to see our players work like the they work and at some moments play like they play.
On Neves: “I know him very well, he’s grown in a big club in Portugal. He’s a very good player, with very good quality and good behaviour, good attitude. He’s enjoying what he’s doing. It’s important for him, for Wolves and for Nuno as well.”
CLAUDE PUEL, LEICESTER CITY
Puel had to get a message across to his players mid-match to change tactics and combat the way Wolves played
“It was a tough game for us. Wolves played well, especially at the beginning of the game.
“Their style, their quality, it was difficult to defend against the team. They like to take the width with lots of switches, our first 20 minutes were not enough in the reading of the play, in the anticipation.
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“We had to correct the defensive aspects in this moment, it was a good opportunity to correct the details after the injury (Neves’ head injury), when the players came to drink.
“It was important to help them in the second half also but we changed a little the system with three centre-backs, more stability to prevent them to take this space at the side and to switch a lot of balls because it was difficult to defend against this team.”
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STEVE BRUCE, ASTON VILLA
Bruce felt Nuno and his backroom team over-celebrated the victory over Villa at Molineux
“I think they are vociferous all the time. That’s their prerogative.
“We don’t quite behave like that, I wouldn’t have thought my staff would behave like that, but they beat us fairly and squarely and you have to take it on the chin.
“We bear that in mind for this game and let’s hope we’re celebrating and not them.”
GARRY MONK, BIRMINGHAM CITY
Wolves celebrated promotion by beating Blues at Molineux – and Monk was full of praise for them
“They are the best team in the league, they have shown that over the course of the season. That’s why they are going to the Premier League.
“We all know their threats, they have got Premier League level players in their team. We have all seen how difficult a team they are.
“Wolves have obviously done a fantastic job, they have got fantastic players and the manager has moulded them into a winning side that has shown really high quality in this league.”
PHIL PARKINSON, BOLTON WANDERERS
Parkinson was purring about the quality of Wolves – and tipped them to compete in the Premier League
“They are an outstanding team. They are a team way above any other in this league.
“They have players going to the World Cup and have spent plenty of money as we all know.
“I think as their team stands now, they will be top half Premier League side.”
LEE JOHNSON, BRISTOL CITY
Johnson got a close hand glimpse at Nuno’s coaching methods
“Yeah, it’s true and we (Nuno and Johnson) did our A licence [coaching qualification] together in Scotland.
“Straight from early on you speak to Nuno, you see or actually hear how intelligent he is.
“He’s interesting in the way he likes to play the game and the session that he did on the A licence many moons ago – five or six years ago now – was exactly the same style that Wolves played in.”
NEIL WARNOCK, CARDIFF CITY
Warnock was less complimentary after falling out with Nuno for not shaking his hand
“I think he (Nuno) was a total disgrace, I used strong words and I meant every one of them.
“He’s got to learn that in British football you have manners and a bit of class when you’ve won a game. You’ve got to learn that I’m afraid.
“I don’t think I’ll go into my office until after he’s gone. I don’t want to see him tonight if I’m honest. I thought it was a great game and it didn’t need to end like that.”
ALEX NEIL, PRESTON NORTH END
Neil accused Wolves of having ‘soft foreign players’ who go down too easily
“Against the likes of Wolves they’ve got a lot of soft foreign players haven’t they?
“I think a lot of them go down and look as if they’re really hurt and makes the referee think the challenge is worse than it actually is.
“You can guarantee they’re going to bounce back up within seconds and that’s exactly what happened.
“It seems to be every time there was a free kick a booking would follow.
“The way the Wolves players go down and roll around it looks like they are really hurt, making the referee think it was a really bad tackle when in actual fact it was an honest attempt to get the ball.”
IAN HOLLOWAY, QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Holloway was taken by the fluidity of the system and personnel Wolves employed
“Wolves have been more consistent than everybody else at getting the points that they need.
“Well done to them. I love the way that they try to do it, because it’s very different.
They defend with five players, and also attack with five. And they very rarely have to change that.
“They drop into a 5-4-1, which is very difficult to break down, and they counter attack very quickly.
“They keep the ball and can move you around. That’s suiting their team and their players at the minute.”