EPL

Gary O’Neil says ‘unbelievable’ Fulham win his favourite due to Wolves adversity

By Sports Desk March 09, 2024

Gary O’Neil rated Wolves’ 2-1 victory over Fulham as his favourite of the season given the adversity his side overcame.

With several key players already out, Wolves were forced into two first-half changes because of injuries to Jean-Ricner Bellegarde and key man Pedro Neto.

But second-half goals from full-backs Rayan Ait-Nouri and Nelson Semedo put Wolves in control before Alex Iwobi pulled one back with virtually the last kick of the game.

“Unbelievable win,” said a delighted O’Neil, whose side are up to eighth in the Premier League table.

“My favourite I think in terms of what we’ve had to deal with, the position we were in before the game, the position we found ourselves in 20-odd minutes into the game.

“To find a way to beat a Fulham team that are in a really good moment – when I got their team-sheet I realised how strong they are depth wise, unbelievable bench they had available to them.

“Obviously we’re in a different moment. We can be as strong as that but at this moment we’re not. Then mentally for the players to lose the only attacking players we have left and still be able to find a way to respond I thought was an unbelievable win.

“I’m sure they are, but the supporters should be unbelievably proud of the team that they just saw. If I’d have grown up being a Wolves fan and you asked me what I wanted my team to look like, it would have been that.”

The considerable negative was the two injuries, with Bellegarde sustaining a left knee problem in the opening minutes of the game and Neto then pulling up just before half-time holding his left hamstring.

The Portuguese winger, who missed two months of the season with a right hamstring injury, went off at half-time against Newcastle last week because of tightness in his hamstring, leaving O’Neil to rue his team selection.

“He had a really good week,” said the Wolves boss. “He had a scan that was completely clear, no muscle damage at all, he felt really good yesterday in training, felt good again today.

“That lands on me whether the decision to play him today was right. I’m just devastated for Pedro and how hard he’s worked to get back. We’re hopeful, medical don’t think it’s anything like his first one, but it’ll be a scan and we’ll go from there.

“If I had the team-sheet back again now, of course I’m not putting Pedro Neto’s name on it.”

It was a frustrating afternoon for Fulham boss Marco Silva, who saw Harry Wilson miss a one-on-one and Tosin Adarabioyo hit the bar in the first half.

“We had a chance to come to half-time leading the score clearly,” said Silva. “We didn’t start really well but after the first chance we created, from that moment we built the momentum and we started to be on the front foot.

“But the reality is the game is 95 minutes and the way we started the second half, we played too slow, losing some balls in dangerous areas that we cannot lose. And from that moment we are punished.”

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