Wolves 0 Burnley 4 - Report

A shameful, pathetic display from Wolves saw Chris Wood wreak havoc in an emphatic 4-0 victory for Burnley at Molineux.

Well aware of Wood's capabilities, having suffered against him several times in the past, Nuno Espirito Santo's side put in their worst performance of 2020/21 – which cannot end soon enough.

The defending was downright atrocious as the former Albion man gratefully grabbed a first-half hat-trick.

He then set up Ashley Westwood towards the end to rub salt into the wounds.

Not showing a speck of fight or urgency, this could well be the most inadequate performance of Nuno's reign.

Analysis

Wolves had the chance to make it three league wins on the spin for the first time this season.

But instead, they were completely outbattled and outclassed by Sean Dyche's outfit. It could have been more than four as well.

No amount of words can really do justice as to how bad Wolves were in this game.

They know what Wood is all about – but they could not stop him, and barely even tried to.

His hat-trick, after opening the scoring and swiftly adding a second, was a formality. Setting up Westwood late on, too, he would love to play against Wolves' defence every week.

Nuno has prided his team on organisation and robustness over the years but there was absolutely no evidence of proper shape or structure here.

Woeful defensive displays had, unfortunately, already been seen a few times this campaign, but this takes the cake as the most gruesome of the lot.

Going forward as well, they remain toothless. Once Burnley had their lead, they were strolling.

It has already been said on multiple occasions that this coming summer is a huge one for Wolves. And this terrible outing further hammered home that point.

Nuno said afterwards it is not a question of attitude, but this performance had all the hallmarks of a team that is already safe from the drop.

The Clarets, meanwhile, who came into the game sitting 17th and needing points, made their fans proud with a passionate, productive 90 minutes.

Serious work must be done over the close season to improve the squad.

Before then, though, Wolves still have to play five matches – and fierce rivals Albion next. The remit for those is to at least show some heart.

Match report

Wolves made one change to the side which started the 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

Ruben Neves was, rather surprisingly, in from the off after a period of self-isolation.

Nuno said in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon the Portuguese midfielder was still too infectious to rejoin the group. But he finally got the all-clear to return to action that evening.

Neves replaced compatriot Joao Moutinho, who sustained an ankle injury during training that day as well.

Burnley, meanwhile, welcomed first-choice keeper Nick Pope back from injury while having ex-Baggies pair Wood and Matej Vydra up front.

Wolves started off with a couple of half-decent counter-attacks. Willy Boly intercepted a hopeful Matt Lowton pass and racing up the pitch, Willian Jose and Adama Traore both had efforts blocked.

A bright run from Rayan Ait-Nouri saw the ball worked to Daniel Podence, whose strike was caught by Pope. He had another curling shot deflect narrowly wide, too.

But Nuno's backline, come the 15-minute mark, completely fell apart. The defending was embarrassingly bad. An utterly abject display.

The initial warning sign came when Boly, misreading a lofted-through ball, messed up a header back to Rui Patricio and, just about, managed to deny Vydra.

And seconds later, the Clarets took the lead.

Boly was caught flat-footed once more and target man Wood proceeded to turn Conor Coady inside-out before confidently firing the ball into the far corner.

Wood has always been a thorn in Wolves' side, and he could not have asked for a simpler finish to double his and Burnley's tally.

A slack, careless pass from Traore towards Nelson Semedo was intercepted by Dwight McNeil, and he squared it across goal for the unmarked striker to tap in.

Wolves were struggling to make anything stick in the final third, with Podence looking especially sloppy, and the defence continued to be passed through like a sieve. A disastrous recipe.

Wood duly wrapped up his treble before the interval, too.

Knowing just how much of a threat the New Zealander is in the air, Nuno's lot instead decided not to challenge him, or even jump, as he easily crashed home a header from an inswinging corner.

It was an inexcusable, horrific half an hour for Wolves. Boly – although by no means on his own – had been pulled all over the place. No player even tried to attack an aerial ball.

At least one change for the start of the second period seemed a safe bet but Nuno, strangely, decided to keep things as they were.

He was very nearly made to pay for that, too, as Vydra ghosted in, rounded Patricio and poked the ball into the empty net.

Fortunately for Wolves, temporarily avoiding further embarrassment, the VAR review found him to be fractionally offside.

The first substitution did come before the hour as club-record signing Fabio Silva took the place of Semedo, with Traore moving to right-wing-back.

Playmakers Morgan Gibbs-White and Vitinha were soon introduced, too, for Neves and the ineffective Podence.

Traore found space down the right flank on a few occasions and a deflected low cross forced Pope into a reaction save at his near post. Wolves, though, never looked like forging a fightback.

Burnley, however, got a fourth. Romain Saiss, inexplicably, lost the ball to substitute Jay Rodriguez. He fed Wood, whose lay-off was fired beyond Patricio by Westwood.

Wolves were a shambles and if they play anything like this they will suffer another drubbing against Albion next time out.

Teams

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Boly, Coady (c), Saiss; Semedo (Silva, 58), Dendoncker, Neves (Vitinha, 69), Ait-Nouri; Traore, Jose, Podence (Gibbs-White, 69)

Subs not used: Ruddy (gk), Hoever, Richards, Kilman, Otasowie, Corbeanu

Burnley (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Mee (c), Tarkowski, Taylor; Brownhill, Westwood, Cork, McNeil; Wood, Vydra (Rodriguez, 73)

Subs not used: Peacock-Farrell (gk), Norris (gk), Bardsley, Pieters, Dunne, Stephens, Gudmundsson, Barnes

Goals: Wood (15, 22, 45), Westwood (86)

Referee: Darren England (Doncaster)

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