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Friday, June 2, 2023


Lopetegui pleased to dispel naysayer after Crystal palace win

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As Wolves inch closer to Premier League safety, manager Julen Lopetegui believes the team has disproven the critics.

At Molineux, Wolves defeated Crystal Palace 2-0 thanks to an own goal by Joachim Andersen and a late penalty by Ruben Neves.

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They now have five games remaining and are tied for 13th place with the Eagles, nine points above the relegation zone.

After winning four of their previous five games at home, Lopetegui’s team is on the verge of completing its sixth consecutive top-flight campaign. He was appointed with the team in last place.

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He said: “They have been very important victories, we need points to achieve our aim. Four months ago all the people thought it was impossible. Now, it’s at least possible so we have to fight very hard to achieve our aim.

“It was a very bad situation but now we have hope and it’s possible. We have worked very hard, we have to continue because we haven’t achieved anything.

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“It has been a very hard match. We were playing against a very strong team. They have played their last matches at a top level.

“We have to work a lot, to achieve our aim we have to get more points. It’s an important victory but we have to keep on working.

“We have to get more points. We have to be ready for the next five games.”

Andersen unwittingly put Wolves ahead after just three minutes when he turned in Neves’ corner from close range.

It was a goal Palace never recovered from but the hosts still needed Jose Sa to save well from Albert Sambi Lokonga in the first half.

Wolves had been on top before the break but the visitors improved in a second half of few chances and Sa turned over Eberechi Eze’s dipping drive.

With a slender lead the hosts were edging towards victory and Palace gave them another gift in stoppage time.

Sam Johnstone collected a throw-in but a heavy touch left him lunging into Pedro Neto. The goalkeeper escaped a red card but was beaten by Neves from the spot.

Palace boss Roy Hodgson, after a first defeat since his return last month, said: “Credit to Wolves, we had such a lot of the ball in the second half and some of the football was very good. They defended well.

“It was hard for us, with that number of players, to create a lot of space to get the equaliser I believed we were going to get and we deserved.

“Then the worst thing happens when you get robbed of those last three or four minutes where there is hope.

“I don’t think 2-0 is a fair reflection on how the game went. We do have a healthy margin to the bottom three but I’m not interested in trying to preach to the players that we need X amount of points to stay up.

“I enjoyed the performance but of course you don’t enjoy defeats.”


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