Express & Star

Gary O'Neil disappointed at Wolves' second half showing in Molineux draw

Gary O’Neil has been left disappointed by Wolves’ poor second half showing in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.

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Matheus Cunha swept home a first half equaliser but Wolves were unable to get a grip on the game in a lacklustre second 45.

And a dejected O’Neil felt his side could have done more to win the game.

“It was a tough game, to go 1-0 down against a team that were here to defend very deep and just plan on the counter-attack,” he said.

“To give them an early 1-0 lead played into their hands and made it difficult for us.

“In the first half we responded pretty well once we found our way. We scored a really good goal and looked a threat.

“But we lost our way in the second half. We didn’t find a way to cause them problems in their back five. I leave slightly disappointed, feeling we were all trying to get more. The players, myself, the fans and we didn’t manage to test them as much as I would have liked.”

Mario Lemina came off injured in the second half but O’Neil was positive on his availability next week – as the head coach criticised the impact of his substitutions.

“He had a tight hamstring but he seemed to think it’s fine,” O’Neil added.

“The doctors seem to think he’s fine, he just wasn’t comfortable really pushing in the second half. He was at risk and it was best to change him, with eight days until the next game we can hopefully get him ready to go again.

“It was a loss for us having to change him at that stage as he was doing well. We tried a few other subs and they didn’t really make us any better, I don’t think. They didn’t really give us any impetus.

“I have a tinge of disappointment, but once we take a step back and look where we are, it’s positive to take four points from the two home games and positive where we are points-wise at the moment.”

The fixture at Molineux also saw Wolves supporters stage a protest before and during the game, with banners and placards condemning VAR after a string of controversial decisions against Wolves this season.

When asked about the protests, O’Neil said: “I understand some of the frustrations about VAR but I don’t have an opinion on the protests or the cards inside or outside the stadium, I completely forgot about it to be honest, with preparations for the game and being involved in the game.

“I can understand that there’s a frustration that maybe VAR hasn’t helped us arrive at the right decision as much as people expected.

“But I’d love to not speak about VAR as well today because I thought the officials were fine.

“The Nottingham Forest staff and Steve (Cooper) were disappointed with the throw-in that was given. It’s important that I’m honest, because I moan about decisions when they go against us, and that was a Nottingham Forest throw-in. It did come off Nelson (Semedo) last.

“All I would say is, it’s a throw-in and there’s loads of decisions and lots that goes on after the throw-in for us to score a goal.

“Steve should maybe look at some of the decisions that go against us. When it’s a penalty it’s a lot harder to stop than a throw!

“I thought the ref had a good game and there was no real massively contentious issues in it. I thought maybe Cheikhou Kouyate’s arm on Max (Kilman) possibly, but I haven’t seen it back. He was already on a yellow and it looked dangerous.

“But the officials handled the game well and I’m disappointed we couldn’t look better than we did for the last 40 minutes and find a way to push Nottingham Forest towards the end.”