Manchester City have reached a verbal agreement with Wolves on a fee for Portugal midfielder Matheus Nunes.

The PA news agency understands City have agreed to pay Wolves 55million euros (£47million) without add ons, but the deal has not yet been finalised.

In a separate deal, City’s 21-year-old midfielder Tommy Doyle will join Wolves on loan with a £5million option to buy, and City retaining a significant sell-on clause if the move becomes permanent.

City last week saw a bid for Nunes rejected, with the 25-year-old subsequently choosing not to train with Wolves in a bid to force through a move in the final days of the transfer window.

Speaking after Tuesday night’s 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Blackpool, Wolves boss Gary O’Neil said he was unaware of any improved bid from City and expected the player to remain at the club beyond Friday’s deadline, but that situation has quickly changed.

Nunes became Wolves’ record signing when he joined from Sporting Lisbon for an initial £38million last summer, signing a five-year contract with the option of a further 12 months.

He made 34 appearances last term, scoring one goal and proving one assist.

England under-21 international Doyle, grandson of Manchester City greats Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe, impressed on loan at Sheffield United last season, scoring four goals and seven assists in 38 appearances as he helped the Blades earn promotion to the Premier League.

Gary O’Neil has said he expects Matheus Nunes to remain at Wolves beyond Friday’s transfer deadline day with Manchester City yet to lodge an improved offer for the Portugal international, who has stopped training in a bid to force through a move.

City last week saw a £47million bid rejected for the 25-year-old, who moved to Molineux for a club-record £38million last summer, and O’Neil said the champions were yet to return with a better offer.

“He’s not with the group at the moment, his choice,” O’Neil said. “After the bid from Manchester City he decided it was best for him to not to be with the group. Club policy and how we deal with things like that is set in place.

“As far as I’m aware there’s been no improved bid. Matheus Nunes is still our player, we have a long contract still with him and at this moment I fully expect him to be here come September 2.

“The next few days will be key of course and conversations will take place that will be private between me and Matheus and I’m sure the situation will be resolved.”

Speaking after watching a much-changed Wolves line-up brush aside League One Blackpool 5-0 to reach the third round of the Carabao Cup, O’Neil stopped short of criticising Nunes’ actions, saying he first needed to speak to the player.

“You never need (to stop training) but players do,” he said. “You’ve seen it all over the country, I’ve seen it when I was playing, we’ve seen it in recent transfer windows, I can think of one in January, and it won’t change how the club deals with any bids or any situation.

“He definitely didn’t (need to) and there is a way to deal with these things but I’ll keep most of my thoughts private for when I speak with Matheus.

“I will speak to him and there will be advisors and representatives and there’s a lot of things that go on – it’s too simplistic to say ‘he’s done this and we think that’. There’s a lot involved in situations like this.

“For me to try and answer in a press conference without Matheus for me to speak to about it and understand exactly where everything is is probably unfair…I’ll save my opinions until after I’ve spoken to him.”

Asked how easily Nunes would be reintegrated into the squad should he stay at Molineux, O’Neil said: “The conversation and our understanding of the situation will be the deciding factor. At this moment I don’t have enough information to make an accurate decision on it.”

Regardless of how the situation with Nunes plays out, Wolves go into the final few days of the transfer window with work to do. Daniel Podence is out of favour and seemingly on his way out, while Goncalo Guedes has returned to Benfica on loan – a move which frees up space on the wage bill.

“I’m excited because I’m still convinced that on September 2 the squad will be in a better place than it was last week,” O’Neil added. “I’m excited for the next few days…

“Does that mean there’s going to be loads of players arriving? Possibly, possibly not. But we’re as well prepared as we can be for the end of a transfer window where things can move quickly.”

Wolves saw off Blackpool with a brace from Matt Doherty, and goals from Sasa Kalajdzic, Fabio Silva, and debutant Nathan Fraser, leaving the Seasiders without a win or a goal in five matches.

“It was a difficult night against really good players, a good team,” Blackpool boss Neil Critchley said.

“Everything just seems to be going against us a little bit…But I can’t fault the players in the way they went about the game and they went after it.”

Matt Doherty marked his second Wolves debut with two goals and Nathan Fraser scored on his first senior appearance as they brushed aside League One Blackpool 5-0 to reach the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Sasa Kalajdzic doubled his Wolves tally days after getting off the mark at Everton and Fabio Silva capped a fine display with his first goal for the club since May 2021 before the popular Doherty, back at the ground where he spent a decade before leaving in 2020, scored two in seven minutes.

Substitute Fraser had set up the second of Doherty’s goals and the 18-year-old then got in on the scoring himself, beating goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell with a deflected effort late on.

With Matheus Nunes trying to force through a move to Manchester City, Goncalo Guedes heading back to Benfica on loan and Daniel Podence seemingly on his way out, Wolves need reinforcements in the final days of the transfer window but there were positive signs at Molineux.

Blackpool, without a goal in four matches since beating Derby 2-0 in the last round and deprived of cup-tied striker Jordan Rhodes and the injured Shayne Lavery, twice struck the frame of the goal but were comfortably second best.

Gary O’Neil made nine changes from Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win at Everton, even including 15-year-old Emilio Ballard-Matthews among the substitutes, and will have been pleased with the attacking intent of those afforded an opportunity.

Kalajdzic, whose first season at Molineux was ruined by a torn ligament suffered on his debut, opened his Wolves account in the 87th minute at Goodison Park and needed only 10 minutes of this match to double it, bouncing a shot in after Pablo Sarabia’s effort was charged down by O’Donnell.

Wolves were then guilty of complacency against goal-shy Blackpool, loose in possession at the back and almost punished as Kenny Dougall saw a shot from 20 yards come back off the inside of the post.

But Silva settled nerves in the 25th minute as Sarabia ran forward from midfield and slipped the ball through for the 21-year-old to beat O’Donnell with a powerful finish.

After his last strike against West Brom in May 2021, Silva went a full season without a Wolves goal and then spent time on loan with Anderlecht and PSV Eindhoven, but O’Neil will hope his positive display here is a sign the former club-record signing, still only 21, is settling in at last.

There was a blow early in the second half for the hosts when 20-year-old Joe Hodge, making his first appearance of the season, pulled up clutching his hamstring when breaking into the box, with 19-year-old Harvey Griffiths handed a debut as his replacement.

The third goal came on the hour, with Sarabia again involved as he latched on to a deflected ball through and lifted in a cross from the left for Republic of Ireland full-back Doherty, back at Molineux after spells with Tottenham and Atletico Madrid, to head in off the underside of the crossbar.

Moments later, Doherty was at it again. The 18-year-old Fraser, on for Kalajdzic, beat the offside trap down the right and then tapped the ball back for Doherty to run at goal and beat O’Donnell at his near post.

At the other end Blackpool skipper Callum Connolly struck the crossbar with a free-kick but Wolves and Fraser had the final word six minutes from time.

Matheus Nunes will not be involved in Wolves’ Carabao Cup tie at home to Blackpool on Tuesday after he stopped training with the club in an effort to force through a move to Manchester City.

Premier League champions City stepped up their pursuit of Nunes after cooling their interest in West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta, and had a bid of 55million euros (£47m) rejected last week for the Portuguese attacker.

While Wolves have not received any fresh bids from City, Nunes has now stopped training with Gary O’Neil’s side, the PA news agency understands.

The 25-year-old, who joined from Sporting Lisbon last summer in a deal worth £42m, was absent for Saturday’s 1-0 win away to Everton and will again be missing from the squad for the upcoming second-round cup tie at Molineux.

Nunes will face disciplinary action for his decision to stop training, but could be integrated back into the squad if no move occurs before the summer transfer window shuts at 11pm on Friday.

Head coach O’Neil will also be without Hwang Hee-chan for the clash with Blackpool, who are 15th in Sky Bet League One, due to a hamstring issue.

Austria forward Sasa Kalajdzic scored a late winner at Everton in what was only his third Wolves appearance in a year after suffering a rupture to his anterior cruciate ligament on his debut last September.

But O’Neil, who took charge earlier this month, remains cautious over Kalajdzic’s involvement and says his role will remain limited as he builds his way back to full fitness.

He said: “He is obviously still on a journey, getting back to full fitness. He is not one you can play for 90 minutes week in, week out at this moment.

“It is hard to assess when you come in new. You just see him training and everyone tells you he has been out for a while.

“You just try to judge him at that moment against the rest of that group and the ones he is competing with for a starting place.

“He looked a little bit behind the others, sharpness and fitness-wise, but I obviously don’t have a clear picture in my mind of what he is like when he is full throttle either.

“He understands where he needs to improve and that he needs extra time on the grass and we need to keep working.

“But he also understands he can have a big impact on football matches still.”

Matheus Nunes will not be involved in Wolves’ Carabao Cup tie at home to Blackpool on Tuesday after he stopped training with the club in an effort to force through a move to Manchester City.

Premier League champions City stepped up their pursuit of Nunes after cooling their interest in West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta, and had a bid of 55million euros (£47m) rejected last week for the Portuguese attacker.

While Wolves have not received any fresh bids from City, Nunes has now stopped training with Gary O’Neil’s side, the PA news agency understands.

The 25-year-old, who joined from Sporting Lisbon last summer in a deal worth £42m, was absent for Saturday’s 1-0 win away to Everton and will again be missing from the squad for the upcoming second-round cup tie at Molineux.

Nunes will face disciplinary action for his decision to stop training, but could be integrated back into the squad if no move occurs before the summer transfer window shuts at 11pm on Friday.

Head coach O’Neil will also be without Hwang Hee-chan for the clash with Blackpool, who are 15th in Sky Bet League One, due to a hamstring issue.

Austria forward Sasa Kalajdzic scored a late winner at Everton in what was only his third Wolves appearance in a year after suffering a rupture to his anterior cruciate ligament on his debut last September.

But O’Neil, who took charge earlier this month, remains cautious over Kalajdzic’s involvement and says his role will remain limited as he builds his way back to full fitness.

He said: “He is obviously still on a journey, getting back to full fitness. He is not one you can play for 90 minutes week in, week out at this moment.

“It is hard to assess when you come in new. You just see him training and everyone tells you he has been out for a while.

“You just try to judge him at that moment against the rest of that group and the ones he is competing with for a starting place.

“He looked a little bit behind the others, sharpness and fitness-wise, but I obviously don’t have a clear picture in my mind of what he is like when he is full throttle either.

“He understands where he needs to improve and that he needs extra time on the grass and we need to keep working.

“But he also understands he can have a big impact on football matches still.”

Wolves head coach Gary O’Neil admitted there were large spells in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League victory over Everton which he did not like but he was more than happy with the outcome.

The visitors scored with their only shot in target in the 87th minute when substitute Sasa Kalajdzic glanced home a header just two minutes after coming on.

By contrast Everton had 15 shots, seven on target, seven corners to Wolves’ none, but struggled to end a long-standing problem of scoring.

“I thought it was a decently-balanced performance with large spells I didn’t like,” said O’Neil, who only took over on the eve of the season after the departure of Julen Lopetegui.

“But I have to remind myself that we have not been here nine months, we have been here 15 days and there will be spells where it doesn’t quite look like what you want.”

Kalajdzic’s impact was all the more impressive as it was only the Austrian’s third appearance in a year for the club after rupturing an ACL on his debut last season.

“He has worked very hard since I’ve been here and he’s still got a long journey getting back to full fitness,” added O’Neil.

“With us arriving in good areas, I felt we could put some good crosses into the penalty area and I thought Sasa could be that guy.

“It was a really smart finish as he is facing the wrong way and it’s easy to get disorientated.”

Kalajdzic goal not only secured Wolves’ first points of the season but was their first on the road in 10 attempts and resulted in them winning three-successive league games at Goodison Park for the first time.

Both teams had begun the afternoon pointless in 18th and 19th in the table but O’Neil tried to play down the significance of the victory.

“I think winning Premier League games is big, every single one, especially on the road and especially the first one with a new group,” said the manager.

“It’s a tough place to come but it doesn’t feel big because us and Everton were both on zero, it just felt like a win the boys deserved after the work they have put in over the last 15 days.”

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin out with a cheekbone injury and deputy Neal Maupay misfiring, Everton boss Sean Dyche opted to give loan signing Arnaut Danjuma his first start up front but he also lacked the sharpness needed to end a goalless run which is already at 270 minutes this season.

Everton are struggling to find further new signings before the close of the window – their interest in Southampton striker Che Adams has yet to materialise into a concrete offer – but Dyche insisted they would continue to pursue every avenue.

“If we had loads and loads of money, we would change all sorts because things have not been right for a long time,” he said.

“I am trying to remodel a group with the players that are here and if we can add to that, we will be doing.

“All these names that get bandied, there are some that are real and some that are not.”

Wolves substitute Sasa Kalajdzic scored a late winner two minutes after coming off the bench as Everton manager Sean Dyche’s decision to turn to some new faces produced a depressingly-familiar outcome.

The Toffees dominated this Premier League match – having 15 shots – but remain goalless and pointless in the 270 minutes they have played so far this season as the visitors scored with their only effort on target in the 87th minute.

Fans streaming out of Goodison had seen it all before as recently as a fortnight ago when a similar performance against Fulham also saw them lose 1-0 as they endured their worst start to a season since 1990-91.

But the supporters in old gold did not care as they headed back down the M6 celebrating their first win of the campaign – secured by a player making only his third appearance after rupturing his ACL in his first match last season – and their third in succession at Goodison Park for the first time.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said plenty of players in his squad were capable of scoring goals like Kaoru Mitoma’s stunning effort in his side’s 4-1 Premier League win at Wolves.

The Seagulls sit top of the table after a clinical display at Molineux, with Japan winger Mitoma, Pervis Estupinan and Solly March’s double making it eight goals in two league matches.

De Zerbi, who dedicated his side’s win to former Italian coach Carlo Mazzone – who died on Saturday aged 86 – said he was not surprised by Mitoma’s mesmeric run and finish, which gave his side a slender half-time lead.

The Italian head coach said: “Mitoma is a top player and when you have a top player you can expect goals like today.

“We have not only Mitoma. We have Joao Pedro, (Julio) Enciso, (Danny) Welbeck, (Adam) Lallana, (Evan) Ferguson, (Simon) Adingra, (Solly) March, (Facundo) Buonanotte. I think we are in a very good condition in attack.”

Winger March converted two crosses by Paraguayan teenager Julio Enciso after lung-busting runs into the box and now has three goals in two games.

De Zerbi said: “I spoke with him (March) last season and the beginning of this season. I want him to score more goals. For him and for us.

“If the winger can score a lot of goals, if you check the teams at the top of the table anywhere, the big teams, they have wingers able to score 10 or 15 goals.”

Brighton put Wolves to the sword with three goals in nine minutes at the start of the second half and do not appear to be missing midfield pair Moises Caicedo and Alexis Mac Allister, who have departed to Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.

But De Zerbi said he hopes to sign a new midfielder, plus one other player before the transfer window closes on September 1.

“I think we have to go into the transfer market,” he added. “Without Caicedo, we have to play in different ways.”

Wolves manager Gary O’Neil has lost both matches in charge of the club after replacing Julen Lopetegui earlier this month.

O’Neil’s side began brightly after impressing in their narrow 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in their opening match, but were brutally punished by Brighton for failing to take their chances.

The former Bournemouth boss said: “I didn’t think it was worlds apart. The scoreline will obviously make most people believe it was, but it wasn’t miles apart.

“Look at the numbers, shots, chances created. But yeah, you can’t miss that many chances.

“It was an aggressive gameplan. We tried to go after Brighton when we could, pressed high and managed to regain the ball a few times.

“There’s risk attached to that, so when we win the ball back and have our chances, we need to score because when it goes to the other end, Brighton were extremely clinical with theirs.”

Liverpool survived Mohamed Salah’s penalty miss and Alexis Mac Allister’s red card to surge to a 3-1 Premier League victory over Bournemouth.

The Cherries took a third-minute lead through Antoine Semenyo, but Luis Diaz levelled before Salah converted the rebound after Neto had repelled his spot-kick.

Summer signing Mac Allister’s dismissal had little impact as Diogo Jota secured the points.

Solly March’s double helped Brighton climb to the top of the table after the 3pm kick-offs following a convincing 4-1 win at Wolves.

Goals from Kaoru Mitoma and Pervis Estupinan put the Seagulls in charge, and March struck twice before substitute Hwang Hee-chan pulled one back for the home side.

Bryan Mbeumo also scored twice to help Brentford to an impressive 3-0 victory at Brentford.

Yoane Wissa opened the scoring and after defender Tim Ream had been sent off for a second bookable offence, Mbeumo converted the resulting penalty before adding a second in stoppage time.

Kaoru Mitoma’s superb solo effort and Solly March’s second-half double helped lift Brighton top of the Premier League table after an impressive 4-1 win at Wolves.

Japan midfielder Mitoma’s mesmeric run and finish gave Brighton a slender half-time lead before Roberto De Zerbi’s side put Wolves to the sword with three goals in nine minutes at the start of the second half.

Pervis Estupinan doubled Brighton’s lead within 60 seconds of the restart and two carbon-copy goals from March, both assisted by teenage forward Julio Enciso, sealed the Seagulls’ second-straight win.

Wolves responded through substitute Hwang Hee-chan’s header just after the hour mark, but it was mere consolation for Gary O’Neil’s side, who were emphatically punished for missed first-half chances and lost Matheus Nunes to a late red card.

Mitoma gave Brighton a 15th-minute lead with a brilliant effort, cutting inside 40 yards from goal and beating three Wolves defenders before sliding the ball beyond goalkeeper Jose Sa.

Brighton deserved their lead, but Wolves spent the rest of an end-to-end first half chasing an equaliser.

Fabio Silva was brilliantly denied by Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele’s out-stretched boot in the 28th minute after the Portuguese forward had ghosted on to Joao Gomes’ deft through-ball.

The home side went close again when Nunes curled a shot off-target following impressive Brazilian Matheus Cunha’s powerful run and Pedro Neto flashed an angled drive just wide.

Brighton continued to threaten on the counter – Mitoma and Paraguayan Enciso were a constant menace – but Wolves passed up another chance just before the break.

Rayan Ait-Nouri found himself clear in front of goal after exchanging passes with Silva, but the Algeria defender blazed over shortly before half-time.

Wolves were made to pay inside 60 seconds of the restart as Brighton extended their lead and then put the game to bed with two more strikes, all within the space of nine minutes.

Estupinan tucked home the visitors’ second, stepping on to Mitoma’s cut-back after Danny Welbeck’s fierce drive had been parried by Sa.

March then slammed home his first as he charged on to Enciso’s lovely weighted ball inside the penalty area to make it 3-0 in the 51st minute and that became 4-0, just four minutes later.

Enciso this time found himself free on the opposite edge of the area and his ball in was turned home again by March to leave Molineux stunned.

Wolves responded just after the hour-mark as Hwang headed home fellow substitute Pablo Sarabia’s corner and they drove gamely forward in a bid to mitigate the damage.

Efforts from Sarabia and Pedro Neto were held by Steele and rebounded off Evan Ferguson respectively, while March was twice denied his hat-trick with goal-bound shots blocked by Toti Gomes and Steele.

Wolves’ misery was complete in stoppage-time when Nunes was sent off for his second yellow card after pushing Estupinan to the ground.

Referee Simon Hooper and both video assistant referees from Wolves’ 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on Monday night have been stood down from the next set of Premier League fixtures, the PA news agency understands.

Wolves head coach Gary O’Neil revealed he had received an apology from elite referees’ manager Jon Moss after his side were denied a “blatant” stoppage-time penalty when United’s debutant goalkeeper Andre Onana clattered into Sasa Kalajdzic deep into stoppage time.

Hooper did not react to the incident, and VAR Michael Salisbury deemed there was no foul – with an incredulous O’Neil instead booked for his reaction to the decision.

PA understands head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) Howard Webb, who has demanded a higher level of accountability as well as an open and transparent approach, had also been in touch with Wolves after the match to apologise.

Hooper, VAR Salisbury and assistant VAR Richard West have all not been selected for the second round of Premier League fixtures.

Appointments for those games had not yet been made public ahead of Monday’s night’s match at Old Trafford. All three officials were absent from the ‘Matchweek 2’ list published by the Premier League on Tuesday morning.

Speaking after Monday’s defeat, during which Wolves created plenty of chances, O’Neil said he thought Onana was trying to “take Kalajdzic’s head off”.

The new Wolves head coach added: “Fair play to Jon (Moss) in coming out (to talk to me).

“He said it was clear and obvious and he can’t believe the on-field referee didn’t give it and he can’t believe VAR didn’t intervene.

“It’s probably made me feel worse to be honest because once you know you’re right you feel worse about leaving with nothing.”

Premier League referees’ boss Jon Moss apologised to Gary O’Neil and told him Wolves had been denied a “blatant” stoppage-time penalty in their 1-0 Premier League defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford, according to the Wolves boss.

United’s debutant goalkeeper Andre Onana clattered into Sasa Kalajdzic deep into time added on, but Simon Hooper did not react and VAR Michael Salisbury deemed there was no foul, with an incredulous O’Neil instead booked for his reaction.

O’Neil said after the match he though Onana was trying to take Kalajdzic’s head off, and then revealed he had received an immediately apology from Moss.

“Having just spoken to Jon Moss, fair enough he came straight out and said it was a blatant penalty and it should have been given,” O’Neil said.

“I sometimes feel bad. I’ve spent a lot of my day with him trying to understand the new guidelines and how to not get myself booked which I’ve failed in, but fair play to Jon in coming out.

“He said it was clear and obvious and he can’t believe the on-field referee didn’t give it and he can’t believe VAR didn’t intervene. It’s probably made me feel worse to be honest because once you know you’re right you feel worse about leaving with nothing.”

United boss Erik ten Hag tried to play down the incident, but he was largely alone in thinking the officials got the decision right.

“When VAR looked at it and decided not to give it of course we are pleased,” the Dutchman said. “It’s about the referee and the VAR. I think the two players come together and Andre didn’t interfere with the action from them because first was the touch on the ball and then came Andre.”

The controversial decision was not the only thing that left the impression United had been lucky to take three points from their opening Premier League match, with Raphael Varane’s 76th-minute header decisive in a laboured performance from the hosts.

With O’Neil only a few days into his tenure, Wolves impressed with their attacking intent. They registered 23 attempts at goal, the most for any visiting team at Old Trafford since Chelsea had 25 in November 2005, another match that ended in a 1-0 win for United.

Scoring goals was an all-too-familiar problem for Wolves last term but O’Neil was encouraged by what he saw.

“Huge credit to the lads,” O’Neil said. “There’s been some negativity surrounding the place but they’ve committed to what we asked of them and gone toe to toe with a top side at a difficult place to come and they’re disappointed.

“For the amount of shots we’ve had and the expected goals, we deserved at least a point…

“Bigger picture stuff and where we want to take the group, tonight is a big step four days in. Coming to a place like this it could have gone very differently.”

United struggled to find any flow and were second best in the second half until Aaron Wan-Bissaka latched on to a dinked ball from Bruno Fernandes, and lifted the ball over for Varane to nod home.

“It was a tough game,” Ten Hag said. “I think we can do much better on the ball. We proved that last season and also in pre-season but the pre-season is not the season and when the league starts opponents are more aggressive.

“Our decision-making could have been better and were not aggressive enough from that point of view, but there are a lot of positives to take. We fought for our lives and we survived with three points so well done.”

Manchester United survived a late VAR scare as Raphael Varane’s second-half goal saw them edge past an impressive Wolves to get their Premier League campaign off to a winning start at Old Trafford.

Varane headed home from close range with 14 minutes remaining to ensure an unconvincing display from Erik Ten Hag’s team ended in a 1-0 victory that was barely deserved.

Indeed, it looked like Wolves might get the chance to equalise from the penalty spot at the death when goalkeeper Andre Onana appeared to clatter into Sasa Kalajdzic, but referee Simon Hooper waved away protests and VAR backed his decision.

It felt harsh as few will have seen a performance like this coming from Wolves, whose plans for the season were thrown into disarray last week when boss Julen Lopetegui left just five days before kick-off, with Gary O’Neil coming in.

O’Neil, who was sacked at Bournemouth after keeping them up last season, will have been thrilled at what he saw as his new side put in a slick counter-attacking display that had United on the run for the majority of the game.

But it was old failings that came back to haunt them as they could not take any of their chances, with the electric Matheus Cunha hitting the post in the second half.

United will know a display like this will not be good enough, but they at least got the job done to ensure they join Manchester City and Arsenal in taking maximum points in the opening weekend of the campaign.

There was a small scale demonstration outside the ground before kick-off as United fans again chanted against the Glazers and the lengthy sale process of the club, which has been going on since November.

However, planned protests against the possibility of Mason Greenwood being integrated back into the squad did not extend beyond the odd banner, with the forward’s fate still unknown as the club are still in a consultation phase following the conclusion of their internal investigation.

The off-the-pitch issues have not clouded what was a promising pre-season for Ten Hag’s men, though they could not translate that into a cohesive performance in the opening 45 minutes.

In fact, to much surprise given their build-up to the season, Wolves were the better team as they had United running scared with pace on the break, creating two excellent openings to take the lead.

In the 26th minute a lightning counter attack saw Cunha surge forward and pass to Pablo Sarabia, but it was slightly behind him and the Spaniard saw his drilled effort go just wide with the aid of a deflection.

Another slick move saw roles reversed six minutes later as Sarabia’s excellent pass played in Cunha, but he dragged his shot wide after bursting into the box.

That acted as something of a wake-up call to United, who came to life in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

There were loud shots for a penalty when Marcus Rashford headed against the arm of Nelson Semedo, but the Wolves defender managed to tuck his limb in just in the nick of time.

But Wolves rediscovered their counter-attacking verve after the break and should have led in the 50th minute.

Another lung-busting break from Cunha, who ran virtually the length of the pitch, saw him lay the ball off to Sarabia and it came back to him at the far post, but, slightly off balance, his shot clipped the outside of the post.

The hosts were petrified of Cunha and their defence parted in alarming fashion five minutes later but saw a low shot saved by Andre Onana.

Cunha was at it again in the 71st minute with another run that had United floundering and the loose ball fell to Pedro Neto, but he shot straight at Onana.

There was an inevitability about what was to come as Wolves paid for their lack of cutting edge when United stole the lead in the 76th minute.

Bruno Fernandes unlocked the defence to play in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and his cross from the right was headed home by Varane from close range.

Wolves knocked on the door for an equaliser and Fabio Silva had a hat-trick of chances but was denied by Onana’s legs twice while Luke Shaw produced a goal-saving block to earn his side victory.

The visitors thought they should have had a penalty in the sixth minute of time when Onana went walkabouts, but Hooper and VAR denied them.

Gary O’Neil has been appointed as the new Wolves head coach on a three-year contract following the departure of Julen Lopetegui.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key issues in his in-tray at Molineux.

Steady ship and pick up morale

It has been a turbulent summer at the club. Relegation was ultimately avoided with something to spare last season, but then problems began as the reinforcements Lopetegui wanted did not arrive and some key players left. With rumours of disquiet growing louder by the week, the players left have effectively been told throughout pre-season that they are not good enough. Morale will likely be low and one of O’Neil’s first tasks will be to restore some order.

Get the fans onside

As well as getting the players on board, O’Neil is going to have to win over the fans. After the high-profile appointment of Lopetegui, a former Spain and Real Madrid coach with a strong reputation, the arrival of the former Bournemouth boss is underwhelming by comparison. It was clear some supporters were beginning to tire of Lopetegui’s complaints and perhaps felt replacing him now was better than allowing the situation to deteriorate further, but they could be forgiven for having doubts about the new man at the helm. Despite making an impression at Bournemouth last season, he remains relatively inexperienced and needs to prove himself.

Identify modest targets

The root of Lopetegui’s problems with the club was their need to balance the books. After spending heavily prior to the Spaniard’s arrival, a tightening of the purse strings has been necessary to ensure compliance with Financial Fair Play regulations. The implication from Lopetegui was that he was not aware of the extent to which this was necessary and consequently felt let down. After that rumpus, O’Neil should be more aware of the club’s financial constraints. The squad will need strengthening in areas, particularly in terms of strikers, and he will need to identify realistic targets.

Make a point to Bournemouth

This will not be in his in-tray as such, but O’Neil will also be driven by personal ambitions as well as those of the club. He took over in difficult circumstances at Bournemouth early last season, when Scott Parker was sacked after saying his squad was “under-equipped” to compete in the Premier League. He took the same group of players and guided them to a 15th-placed finish. His subsequent dismissal by the Cherries was widely regarded as harsh. By making an impact at Molineux he can undoubtedly make a point.

Prepare for Old Trafford

There will be little time to settle before the first game of the Premier League season arrives, and it is hardly a straightforward opener. Wolves travel to Manchester United on Monday. He will need to catch up quickly on Wolves’ pre-season performances, analyse what he has at his disposal and put a team together. It is a tall order but, in terms of assessing United, he may at least have some recent work to fall back on, having faced Erik ten Hag’s side in his penultimate match with Bournemouth.

Julen Lopetegui has parted company with Wolves just days before the start of the new Premier League season.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what went wrong for the Spaniard.

Wasn’t the appointment of Lopetegui considered a coup and wasn’t he doing well?

Yes, when Wolves brought in the former Spain and Real Madrid manager last November, with the team in the relegation zone, it seemed the club had made a smart appointment. Given that Lopetegui had initially turned them down too, they had shown great determination to recruit him. He repaid them by comfortably guiding the club to survival. It was not spectacular but he steadied the ship and form in the spring was a clear uplift on the football of his predecessor Bruno Lage.

So, the foundations were there to build on. Where did it start to go wrong?

At the end of last season there were rumblings that the club would need to match Lopetegui’s ambition in order for him to stay on, despite having signed a three-year contract when he arrived. That meant strengthening a squad that fell short in many areas last term, particularly in the goal-scoring department. Yet, with the club also concerned about balancing the books, it appears they were unable to satisfy him and relations soured.

What have been the problems with the squad?

Wolves signed 10 senior players last season and brought in a further two on loan. Having posted a loss of £41.6million in their last set of financial results, this obviously suggested some sales would be required to prevent further deficit and to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations. Subsequently captain Ruben Neves left for Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal for a club record £47million and Raul Jimenez also moved on, with Matt Doherty the only notable arrival on a free transfer.

What was said about the situation?

Lopetegui voiced his frustration over the summer, saying that transfer activity had been a “big disappointment” and he was unable to enact his ideas. “We were excited by this new plan, but now we don’t have this plan because we don’t have any new players,” he said. Wolves chairman Jeff Shi put out his side of the story in an open letter to supporters last week. “We are also working hard to make sure the club have a long-term robustness and sustainability,” he wrote, adding that it was important to “maintain a sustainable balance of both sporting performance and financial strength”. It seems this only succeeded in bringing matters with Lopetegui to a head.

What happens next?

Given his track record and reputation, Lopetegui is not likely to have trouble finding his next job. Clubs will need to be wary his services come with high demands, however. Wolves are reportedly lining up former Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil as his replacement.

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