It may feel like purgatory at times but sometimes you’ve just got to love the Championship haven’t you, writes Wolves blogger Tim Spiers.
Last month, after a pitiful performance and a convincing defeat in Cardiff, things weren’t looking too clever for us.
We had two points from four games, new signings were struggling for fitness and yet to bed in, while there seemed to be no coherent tactical plan as to what we were trying to do.
At Cardiff we were comprehensively blown away and two weeks later were slumped perilously in 23rd position.
Cue five wins from six matches – with four clean sheets to boot – and here we are in the dizzy heights of third, three points behind the leaders who just so happen to be Cardiff.
It seems that Solbakken’s work on the training ground is starting to bear fruit.
But although it’s nice to be winning games and in a lofty position, you won’t find many Wolves fans shouting from the rooftops about how well we’re doing.
Why? Well it’s a bit early for that for a start. Also, we’ve been here before and have far too much cynicism to get carried away after ten games.
But also, the football has hardly been akin to Brazil in 1970. Or dare I say, Wolves in 2008/09.
It’s been effective. Not cavalier, not bold and certainly not too exciting. But, in the past six games, it’s been effective.
We haven’t been creating chances galore and have relied heavily on three players – Carl Ikeme, Roger Johnson and in particular Bakary Sako – to get us through.
There have been little glimpses and titbits of what might be to come should everything click into place, like against Crystal Palace for example when a couple of gorgeous, flowing, technical passing moves could have resulted in goals.
But on the whole it’s been fairly pedestrian, with priority given – rightly I might add – to protecting our flimsy defence.
Tongo Doumbia looked like he could be the Championship’s answer to Yaya Toure in the first few games but you wouldn’t know it now, for he is being asked to sit and protect.
Likewise Slawomir Peszko – before his unfortunate injury – was doing more than his fair share of defensive work down the right flank and Sako earned a bit of stick for not doing the same.
And when we have the ball it’s imperative to Solbakken that we keep it, particularly if we have the lead, at all costs.
Now this doesn’t make for fascinating viewing, but what it does do is ensure our chances of victory are greater, and it’s true there haven’t been many hairy moments in those victories.
The question is, would you settle for this for the rest of the season? Effective – mostly dull – football, but winning football at that?
After the three years of struggle we’ve endured I think we should be grateful to be winning matches again and it’s to Solbakken’s credit that we are.
Perhaps most importantly it seems the squad’s team spirit – lost in the turgid final months of our Premier League farewell – is returning.
But while the football continues to be more akin to Glenn Hoddle’s reign rather than Mick McCarthy’s, the supporters may not flock back in their droves.
However I’m inclined to believe that as the weeks and months pass the new philosophy will seep through and we’ll see some dynamic, technique-based football that’s good enough to grace the top flight.
That was always the problem with McCarthy’s team – they were limited in what they could produce and came unstuck against technically gifted opposition.
But with Solbakken flair and technique compare favourably with graft and work ethic, and ultimately that should make for a more watchable team.
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