Having seen his side amass an impressive seven points from their opening three games, Mick McCarthy confessed to being somewhat disappointed that Wolverhampton Wanderers were unable to continue their undefeated start to the season in the wake of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
For much of the match Wolves equalled their more illustrious counterparts. It was not until the 67th minute that Emmanuel Adebayor – showcasing the composure and goal scoring prowess that has seen him star for both Arsenal and Real Madrid – was able to ghost through the Wanderers defence, ensuring that Tottenham returned to London with all three points. A Jermain Defoe strike just 10 minutes later curtailed any chance of a late Wolves fight back.
Yet, while obviously disappointed to have taken nothing from the game, McCarthy can take solace in the fact that this is a Tottenham team who will most likely be battling for the top four in eight months’ time. Whilst Wolves have fared surprisingly well against Tottenham since promotion in 2009, any point garnered against a team which can boast the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Emmanuel Adebayor will surely be viewed as an improbable ‘bonus’.
Admittedly, was it not for these ‘bonus’ points, Wolves would no longer be plying their trade in the Premier League – having taken an extraordinary 13 points from last season’s top six. McCarthy will, however, no doubt be aware that his side are unlikely to repeat the heroics of last season. If his side want to avoid the stress of a last day relegation battle, they must improve upon last year’s dismal record against the lower-half teams – starting at home to Queens Park Rangers next Saturday.
Whilst seven points from four games represents a strong start to the season, the all-too-familiar sight of defeat – something that the Wolves fans witnessed more than any other team last campaign – will have somewhat curbed the wave of unbridled optimism around Molineux and reminded both fans and players alike that the main aim for the upcoming season is to simply avoid relegation.
A loss to a resurgent Spurs side will hardly prove terminal, yet, more than anything else, it serves as a marker of how far Wolves still have to come before they can realistically aim for anything other than continued Premier League survival. Victory against QPR next week will see Wolves move on to 10 points from five games but defeat – followed by a tricky trip to Anfield – could see the Midlands side’s superb start reversed almost as quickly as it was last campaign. As McCarthy himself is so keen to point out: seven points down, thirty three still to go.
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