Wolves blog: World Cup Final performance? No Jose, this is the new Wolves
In his post-match analysis, Man United manager Jose Mourinho said Wolves played like they were in a World Cup Final.
This is something of a double-edged compliment: Yes, Wolves brought their A-game to Old Trafford and Mourinho lamented his own side’s attitude by comparison.
But this performance was thus-far typical of Wolves – not being afraid and parking the bus or sitting back, but playing Nuno’s way - the only way they know.
Yes, Wolves played superbly and earned their draw against the country’s most successful club – but it isn’t right to say they stepped up above and beyond their usual capabilities.
You could describe Wolves’ 1-0 win over Man United in 2003/04 as a herculean ‘World Cup Final’ effort.
But this season, Wolves have lost just once and have remained undefeated against last season’s top two English clubs.
This team has nothing or nobody to fear – to have played the two Manchester clubs and remain unbeaten against them, and sit in the top half after the hardest start in the league (according to Sky Sports) is impressive.
All sorts of footballing pundits are lauding Wolves as the strongest ever newly-promoted club: the likes of Phil Neville, Leon Osman, Jermaine Jenas and Alan Shearer have all given Wolves their due credit.
There is plenty going right at Molineux at the moment. We have the best midfield pairing for generations in Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho. If we were spoiled with having Neves last season, what we are witnessing now is truly beyond words.
The style of play, the team cohesion, the fact every player is a vital cog in the wheel and knows their role perfectly is testament to the way they believe in Nuno’s footballing philosophies.
The fact Wolves are unchanged in the league, after a shaky start (by their own high standards since) is proof of Nuno’s trust in his players.
Rui Patricio’s free kick save before half-time was vital – keeping the score to 1-0 was imperative and Wolves regrouped and scored soon after the break. Nuno’s Wolves haven’t got anything from games where they have gone two goals behind, though they are an extremely rare occurrence by Wolves’ own standards.
The bond between club and supporters is the greatest it has been in decades. We had a great affinity in recent years with Mick McCarthy’s 2008/09 team, Kenny Jackett’s League One team and the subsequent Dicko-Afobe-Sako spearheaded team, but this is the strongest Wolves has been united.
Southampton and Crystal Palace before the international break is a great pair of games to have – this is a real chance to keep building on Wolves’ solid start.
If I was of a Southampton persuasion, I certainly wouldn’t be relishing this Saturday’s trip to Molineux.