What a great fortnight it has been for Wolverhampton Wanderers, picking up seven points out of an available nine, but there is still plenty of hard work ahead of them if they are to survive. Wolves had a successful end to their recent claret-and-blue trilogy by hammering West Ham 3-1 at Upton Park. The result has moved the Wanderers up into 15th in the Premier League and has given them a great boost in their survival hopes in the top flight.
Kevin Doyle, who opened the scoring at Upton Park with a cool finish in the 28th minute, was delighted by the team’s performance in east London. Wolves’ record signing was adamant that the display shown by his side was the best he has ever been involved in, but warned that they will have to remain focused as things can change quickly in the Premier League’s basement. The 26-year-old striker said: “I think that was the best game I’ve been a part of for Wolves. Just because it was such a pressure game and to go 3-0 up then to be able to relax with 20 minutes to go, we all enjoyed it. We’ve played really well against teams such as Tottenham, but we haven’t been able to relax and enjoy the result until last night. That’s what made it a bit more special.”
However, the Republic of Ireland international, who netted his eighth goal of the season on Tuesday night, has warned that Wolves must not relax after their recent good form. Wolves have seven games in which to earn another season in England’s top flight and their relegation rivals could put them under pressure if they enjoy a similar sequence of results that Mick McCarthy’s men have been enjoying. Doyle added: “It’s important to stay focused because we’ve got seven games to go and if we have a bad result in the next two weeks and the other teams win a couple of games, we’re back in the mire. It could be a huge result because it puts a bit of daylight between us and the rest below us.”
It is back to Molineux for the first time since March 6 for Wolves for a tough showdown against an Everton side that is in great form at the moment and has been collecting a few scalps in the form of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, while they were a little unlucky to only draw against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
David Moyes’ side are extremely organised and McCarthy’s men will have to be wary of the threats that the Toffees pose. Louis Saha has been a real handful for defences across the Premier League, scoring 13 goals thus far this season. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta also showed why they are so dangerous in Everton’s impressive 2-0 victory at Eastlands, with both midfielders scoring goals. Nevertheless, Wolves have gained a much-needed confidence boost after their claret-and-blue hat trick.
McCarthy has praised the stability at the club and believes it has given them a slight advantage over their relegation rivals. This season, Burnley and Hull have had a change of manager, Portsmouth have been crippled by financial woes and Gianfranco Zola – the West Ham manager – has been given the dreaded vote of confidence by the Hammers’ co-owner David Sullivan. The former Republic of Ireland manager stated that the Wolves players have had no off-the-field issues to contend with and have been able to solely concentrate on their on-the-field duties, which is to retain the club’s Premier League status.
McCarthy said: “Does it help having stability off the pitch? Of course it does. In any working environment it helps. We turn up and we’ve had no problems with the board, no problems with administration, no problems financially and we can concentrate on football.” Conversely, life is not as rosy at Upton Park and the Wolves manager feels sympathetic for the apparent pressure that is surrounding the Italian manager. “You like to have a relationship which is stable and your working life is just the same,” added McCarthy. “I felt for Gianfranco Zola the other night. He has had all those issues going on and we’ve had none.”
Stability will count for little if Wolves do not overcome the final hurdle.
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