Express & Star

Wolves boss Gary O'Neil aggrieved at added time at the Emirates

Gary O’Neil feels aggrieved at the amount of added time played at the Emirates as Wolves chased a late equaliser against Arsenal.


Matheus Cunha’s 86th minute strike gave Wolves hope in the dying minutes of the game after trailing 2-0 for the majority of the fixture.

The officials awarded six minutes of added time before several substitutions and Arsenal time-wasting tactics dragged the game on.

Wolves were unable to find an equaliser and O’Neil could be seen remonstrating with the officials after the game, who he felt

“I thought his (the referee) performance, decision-making wise, was very good,” O’Neil said.

“There’s a slight disappointment for me with the added time. Not the amount that was put up, but there was a lengthy stoppage in there and they told us we’d go to 98.

“But after Arsenal took at least 45 seconds off three free-kicks, so I felt they could have managed the time better for us and we could have got the allotted time.

“The ball was out of play for so much of that last six minutes, that I felt some should have been added on.

“Sometimes you don’t expect Arsenal to be time wasting, but I’m sure if we’d have taken as long over some of the throw-ins and re-starts, then we’d have been receiving yellow cards.

“I have no criticism of Arsenal. If it was me I’d be having my team taking their time at that moment as well, but to only get to 98.30, when it was already going to be 98, was probably a bit short of where it should have been.”

Wolves were 2-0 down after just 13 minutes at the Emirates before settling into the game, and O’Neil was generally pleased with what he saw.

“I wasn’t disappointed with the performance, as such,” he added.

“For the first goal, we organised ourselves to be in a low block sometimes, and be aggressive and man-to-man in other moments, and we were perfectly in shape with bodies around Saka, but he still managed to wriggle through.

“We were hesitant in our defending in the box too. It was avoidable.

“The second goal was brilliant from Arsenal, but we were in position to defend the cut-back and we drifted away from Odegaard.

“Apart from that, the game sort of looked how we prepped for. We knew it would be tough, but we stuck together and found our way.

“I was pleased in general with what the lads gave. They did well. They gave absolutely everything, we gave our best and it was as good as we could give.”

Meanwhile, Jonny Castro Otto was absent from the squad, but O’Neil remained coy on the reason why.

“Jonny just wasn’t available for today, the squad was everyone we had available,” he said.

When asked it was an injury or the player refusing to travel, O’Neil added: “Jonny just wasn’t available. I’d rather talk about the players that were here.

“There will be plenty of time to discuss the others when they’re back involved.”

Jose Sa also came off in the first half with an injury, but is expected to be involved against Burnley on Tuesday.

O’Neil said: “His back tightened up. He landed awkwardly on the second goal but it shouldn’t be serious. He was struggling to kick the ball so I obviously didn’t really want defenders taking goal kicks. Arsenal are aggressive and force you back to the goalie quite a bit, so I needed him to be able to use his feet.

“We could probably have got him through it at a certain level, but it was best to take him off and big mention to Bents, who I thought was excellent.

“He made some big saves. It’s a difficult job as a number two when you haven’t played for ages and you get thrown in at the highest level, and have to perform.

“He did very well, but I don’t envisage too many problems with Jose being available for Tuesday.”