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Nottm Forest 1 Wolves 2 – Five talking points

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published: | Last Updated:

Wolves moved up to second in the Championship with a 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest.

Diogo Jota and Ben Marshall celebrate the winning goal (© AMA / Sam Bagnall)

They were far from at their best at the City Ground but two goals from man of the moment Diogo Jota saw them take home all three points.

It was their fifth league win of the season and continued their unbeaten away record.

But what did we learn from the game? Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers picks out five talking points.

Resilience

As the old cliché goes, if you're winning when not at your best that's a very good sign indeed.

Well Wolves were far from at their best here. In fact for a chunk of the first half they produced their worst football so far under Nuno – they could barely pass the time in midfield, let alone the 50-yard rakes we've become accustomed to in recent weeks.

In fairness Forest were wise to Wolves' sizeable wing-back threat and kept Doherty and Vinagre quiet for the majority of the match, which led to a bit of a plan B for Nuno's team. They had only 44 per cent possession of the ball, the lowest figure of the season and it required some individual brilliance to edge what was a tight match.

Jota's heroics were stunning but just as important here was Wolves' game management and their resilience at the back.

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Take the somewhat freakish goal away and Forest were allowed not a single clear cut chance. Wolves stayed compact, forced Mark Warburton's team wide and duly managed to run the game for long spells despite not enjoying the lion's share of possession.

In contrast to Tuesday night's humdinger against Bristol City, Wolves were in control. Lessons are being learned quickly, it seems.

The fact you had Neves hoofing it upfield in the final minutes shows you what sort of game this was. Wolves can do muck and nettles as well as flowers and sunshine.

Life on the road

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Five away games under Nuno (including Southampton in the cup), four victories, three clean sheets and no defeats. No wonder they keep selling out the away end.

Yes, a 2,000-strong travelling army certainly enjoyed this one. As did Nuno, who took to the field for some uncharacteristic dancing at full time (it looks like the Wolves bug has bitten him).

Wolves' stock gameplan is suited to away matches – they're adept at soaking up pressure and possess so much pace and creativity on the counter attack.

If they can nail that Molineux form as well they'll be going places.

Brilliant Bonatini

There were few standout performers here in what was a team effort where the defence and midfield became greater than the sum of its parts.

The magic happened further up the field and Leo Bonatini played another vital role for the team.

He's come in for a fair amount of criticism for spurning a few chances in the opening weeks but three goals and three assists is an admirable return for a Brazilian who arrived from Saudi Arabia just a few days before the season started and could barely lasted 45 minutes owing to a non-existent pre-season.

Add the fact he's started more games than anyone in the Wolves squad (nine) and you have to take your hat off to a player who works tremendously hard but is also excellent with his back to goal and has no shortage of technical skill.

He and Jota have quickly developed an extrasensory understanding, particularly away from home, and they combined to great effect for the winner with Bonatini's unselfishness and awareness despite being assaulted by Matt Mills providing the game's key moment.

Wolves would miss him dearly if he was injured. Talking of which...

Injuries piling up

The sight of Bonatini hobbling off was one that Wolves really didn't want to see. Twenty minutes earlier Vinagre had done the same.

With Barry Douglas not yet ready to feature that meant Sylvain Deslandes was utilised as a left wing back.

Helder Costa isn't yet deemed fit enough to feature (and Nuno, while saying he's closer to returning, said on Friday that Costa is still in pain), likewise Kortney Hause and Morgan Gibbs-White. Plus Willy Boly is out for an unspecified length of time with a hamstring strain and of course Phil Ofosu-Ayeh is a long-term absentee.

The injuries are piling up and it's only September. A midweek game against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup is probably the last thing Nuno wants as he assesses his walking wounded ahead of another three games in a week before the international break (Barnsley at home next Saturday followed by trips to Sheffield United in midweek and then Burton the following Saturday).

He would prefer to make wholesale changes but he wants to field a senior side 11 changes may not be possible with Wolves' frontline squad looking a little thinner than it was a couple of weeks ago.

King Jota

There's a reason why the majority of Wolves supporters shrug with general indifference when it comes to Jorge Mendes' involvement with their club.

The rights and wrongs of the agent's strong influence on big decisions pales into insignificance for most, on fairly straightforward grounds.

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you exhibit A...Diogo Jota.

Wolves haven't really tended to loan players from clubs like Atletico Madrid, well, ever.

The fact Jota, Ruben Neves, Willy Boly and Ivan Cavaleiro play in gold and black is due to Football's Most Powerful Man™ – and it's safe to say Wolves wouldn't have attracted them to WV1 otherwise.

Jota, in particular, is special. In fact he's arguably the most talented player Wolves have had since...Helder Costa, another Mendes man.

The 20-year-old is arguably having more of an impact that Costa managed in such a short space of time last season. Four goals in three games during the past week have earned Wolves seven points and given their partying fanbase a new hero.

Costa took a little while to get going 12 months ago but Jota has hardly needed any time at all to get up to speed in the Championship, taking to the division like a duck to water despite being kicked all over the park by most opponents.

The things he can do with a football need to be seen to be believed. A great career surely awaits and, like Costa, Wolves are lucky to have such a richly talented young star in their squad.

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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