Express & Star

Proven quality is helping Gary O'Neil's men

Gary O’Neil reckons he is reaping the rewards of “quality” recruitment as Wolves continue to climb to the Premier League table.


Wolves are now being spoken of as contenders for European football having been among the favourites for relegation last summer, following the sale of 17 players in order to comply with the league’s profit and sustainability rules.

But though O’Neil has been restricted in his spending since replacing Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the campaign, with the club unable to recruit a striker in the January window, the boss believes their work in the market prior to his arrival is now bearing fruit.

The likes of Joao Gomes, Matio Lemina, Craig Dawson and Matheus Cunha, who scored a hat-trick in Sunday’s 4-2 win at Chelsea, have all been key to the team’s resurgence.

Though O’Neil himself has received plaudits, he is keen for credit to also go elsewhere.

He explained: “We are a small group but the quality of player the club has managed to recruit before I was here, then me being able to come in and help their understanding, is the reason we are producing the results we are.

“There is no magic wand. They are good players in the dressing room. Joao Gomes being signed at a young age, Matheus Cunha, Mario Lemina last January, Craig Dawson at the same time. Pedro Neto whenever that was. It is not like I have turned bad players into good ones.

“There are some extremely talented players who all understand now what we are trying to do.”

Wolves are 10th heading into Saturday’s visit of Brentford, four points behind West Ham in seventh.

“We will keep pushing to see where we can get them to,” continued O’Neil. “Obviously, the aim was to prove everyone wrong and stay in the league this year.

“We are now on 32 points, which won’t keep you up so we need to keep pushing. Beyond that, let’s see where we can go.”