Dean Saunders today warned Wolves’ crestfallen players they are on their own if they have lost their desire for the Championship relegation battle.
Boss Saunders is still to win a game after seven matches in charge, and admits he is having problems arresting a slide which has seen Wolves plunge into the second tier drop zone for the first time since October 1999 after 11 matches without a win.
Saunders is tinkering to try to find a winning formula after handing on-loan Liverpool left-back Jack Robinson and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake starts in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Barnsley and resting the out-of-sorts Kevin Doyle and Stephen Ward (illness).
In the last four games, he has changed three of Wolves’ much-criticised back four, drafting in Danny Batth, on-loan Reading defender Kaspars Gorkss and Robinson for Roger Johnson, Christophe Berra and Ward.
But despite an upturn in performances, victories remain elusive with the team now two points from safety as they prepare for Sunday’s visit of long-term leaders Cardiff.
And the new Molineux chief confessed he can’t alter players’ make-up.
“I don’t know if I can change anyone’s character,” said Saunders.
“I can make someone’s right foot or left foot a little bit better and I can make them think a little bit differently, but if they’ve lost their desire or hunger, they’re on their own. We’ve got to grind some results out and we need men on the pitch.
“When they were in school, they never got any money but they played with desire, enthusiasm and determination and did their best. But if that desire has gone, I can’t help them – they have to play for someone else.
“Being in football is a very privileged job which we enjoy and not that many people get that in their whole lives.”
Saunders added: “I don’t know if they’re feeling sorry for themselves. As a collective unit, we haven’t been getting the right results and that’s why I’ve been brought in. I’ve got to change it. The performances have been good enough to win.
“I’ve got to turn the whole thing around but it’s not easy because the team has been losing for a long time and we won’t turn into a winning machine overnight.”