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Gary O'Neil felt Wolves deserved more in derby defeat

Gary O’Neil felt Wolves’ performance deserved more than defeat at Villa Park.

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Goals from Moussa Diaby and Ezri Konsa secured all three points for Villa, but Wolves dominated the opening 30 minutes of the West Midlands derby.

Wolves also finished the game well, despite a lack of attacking threat, and the head coach believes his side were good value for a better outcome.

“The only thing I’m disappointed with is the result,” O’Neil said.

“Performance-wise, there was loads and loads of positives – more shots, more possession, higher xG away to Aston Villa with the issues we have is an unbelievable effort from the players.

“Obviously we didn’t come here to lose, so I’m really disappointed that we did and I understand how tough that is for the supporters having to listen to Aston Villa supporters enjoying themselves and singing their songs.

“But that performance, I can sign up for, no problem. It will be enough to win us enough games and keep us moving in the right direction.

“It’s a very tough place to come and for the lads to create opportunities and start the game like they did, being the better team by a long way for half an hour.

“We missed a massive chance and end that spell 1-0 down, which is a huge blow. It took us a while to get back up to speed again.

“The second goal felt like it killed the game off, but we kept fighting and created a few more opportunities.

“There’s loads of positives for that group to give what they did and stick together until the end, it’s a really good effort.”

At 0-0, Wolves had a glorious chance through Rayan Ait-Nouri from five yards, but he shot straight at Emi Martinez.

The defender had two goals in his last two Wolves games before kick-off and O’Neil said he would have backed him to bury that chance – and concludes that it may have been a different game if Wolves had their attacking talents fit.

“99 times out of 100 in a Premier League game, that ends in a goal,” O’Neil said.

“He has a big area of the goal to hit and he’s not very far out, so you’d back him to score.

“Sometimes it doesn’t go your way and the goalkeeper makes a good save.

“Rayan played two 90s for Algeria in the week and I thought he didn’t look quite as sharp as he has done. He looked tired.

“It was a bit moment and we had a few. We caused them loads of problems down the right with Nelson (Semedo) and Pablo (Sarabia). We got ourselves into some really good situations.

“The boys should be proud of what they gave.

“If you put Matheus Cunha, Pedro Neto, Channy and Bellegarde into some of those attacking situations, I’m sure we start to turn some of the shots and xG into actual goals.

“We came up a little bit short today, but I’m proud of what they gave because to come here and give Aston Villa that sort of game with where we are, is a good effort.”

Leon Chiwome was handed his Premier League debut and first Wolves start, replacing fellow teenager Nathan Fraser.

And O’Neil said he wanted to see the 18-year-old in action in a Premier League game.

“I thought he could give us something a bit different,” O’Neil said.

“Nathan was thrust in. No-one expected Nathan to be starting Premier League games this year, and he did.

“I felt Leon has a little bit more pace and it was important we had a look.

“There’s not too much between the two at this moment and it was important that we know what we’ve got in both of them.

“Leon hasn’t trained with us much, maybe three or four times, but I was really proud of what he gave.

“I was proud of him and the performance, firstly, and then secondly the lads and the support they gave him during the game.

“Hopefully we can keep improving him now. He’s going to spend a bit more time with us and we can start to improve his understanding.

“I hope he enjoyed bits of it because it’s tough. The Premier League is a ruthless league and away at Villa Park losing 2-0, it’s still his Premier League debut, and I hope he enjoyed bits of it.

“I’m proud of the work he has done to get himself in this position and I thought he gave a decent account of himself.”