Trending topics | Brentford 1-2 Wolves

Wolves’ incident-packed victory over Brentford and the midfield magic of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves were just some of the topics discussed on the latest episode of Matchday Live Extra.

Joining Mikey Burrows was co-commentator and Wolves Hall of Fame full-back Andy Thompson, as well as legendary Wolves Women defender Claire Hakeman as they analysed Bruno Lage’s men making it four wins from four to kick-off 2022.

The trio also spoke about Toti Gomes’ red card which was overturned by VAR, Adama Traore’s celebrations for his offside goal and Fabio Silva’s first Premier League start of the season after Raul Jimenez picked up an injury ahead of the match.

On Silva making his first league start of the season

Thompson said: “Jimenez is out, so there’s an opportunity for him. He’s warranted it. I think he’s warranted the opportunity because when he has come on, we’ve seen glimpses of how he’s improved, as well as his stature, his strength, holding the ball up and his general game play.

“He’s kept his head down and he’s worked hard to make sure that he’s gone on to do the best that he can. But it’s all about him now, it’s all about getting those opportunities when they come and taking them with both hands.”

Hakeman added: “It’s all about his all-round performance, however, I think he’ll be desperate to get a goal. But if he contributes the way that he has been, that will be enough as well. From the fans point of view, he’s had a standing ovation going off the pitch, and that’s to do with effort, determination and work-rate.

“The fans can see that he’s not the Fabio we saw glimpses of at the start of the season, where it just wasn’t quite clicking, since that Man United cameo, he’s just showed that he wanted it and he’s here to compete. I’m really excited to see him have his chance today, and it would be fantastic to see him get on the scoresheet, and I have no doubt he’ll push on even more when he manages to get his goal.”

On a game full of incidents

Thompson said: “We always knew it was going to be a battle coming here, with the way Brentford play and the crowd getting behind them, but you’ve seen the usual Wolves again, with the way we’ve defended.

“They’ll be disappointed with the goal they conceded as they got caught under the ball and left Toney at the back post on his own, and it was a good finish from him. But it’s the way they bounced back and came back into the game. They were great finishes from Moutinho and Neves and it was just a shame about the goal from Traore, that was marginal as well.”

Hakeman added: “The second-half saw such better quality in possession that Wolves showed. We were waiting to be more clinical and we didn’t have too many chances, but the ones that came along, we finished – so that was really pleasing.

“The possession was brilliant and the two goals were superb – especially the first one from Moutinho. But how intricate the play was from Neves, Dendoncker and Semedo to get it back out to Moutinho, and the same for the Neves goal. They were brilliant team goals which really showed our quality.”

On being tight at the back and clinical up front

Thompson said: “If we can have both, we’d want both. We’re defending really well and making it difficult for teams to break us down, but we’ve said that if we keep a clean sheet, it gives us an opportunity to win games and that’s what we’ve done really well in the last few months.

“We’ve gone forward and won games 1-0, closed out the games. We conceded today, and it was very unlike us to get outnumbered in the penalty area, but what they have shown is resilience to go and get that winning goal, and then a third which was unfortunately ruled offside.

“But it just shows the character in this team and the way they want to push on and they want to win the game. They’re not happy with just a point, they want to win the game. It’s that belief that the team has, because they know they’re going to create opportunities, but we’re starting to become more clinical in front of goal. Instead of having loads of chances that we miss, we’re starting to get opportunities and finish them.”

On conceding just a fourth goal in 11 matches

Hakeman said: “They’ll be disappointed with conceding that goal. It’s a goal in open-play and something we could’ve done something about. Maybe with the VAR incident that came just before with the incident with Toti Gomes, maybe the relief that he hadn’t been sent off, lost them that little bit of concentration to leave Toney unmarked at the back post.

“But if you get that resilience defensively, if we graft like we have been – I think Gomes did brilliantly again – but it was a totally different game today [to Southampton]. They were physical, they were intimidating and it’s a tough situation for a young player to walk into in the Premier League, and I thought he dealt with the game brilliantly.

“He kept his composure when we had a bit more possession in the second-half and was able to deal with it. It’s all about the balance; we want to keep a clean sheet as much as we can, because then the pressure is on the forwards to go and get the goals for us, but we’re also getting goals from midfield, with Neves and Moutinho contributing, and we’ve still got Jimenez to come back in.”

On getting goals from the midfield

Thompson said: “I don’t know if it’s come from the manager or just the way that we play, but they’re trying to get the midfielders to back up the forwards. Silva worked really hard up there, but we’ve got to get players up to him and the only area that the balls are going to come from except the wide areas, are those central positions.

“If we’re playing three in there, one of them always has to get up to the box. Usually it’s been Dendoncker, but we saw Moutinho get his goal because he’s gone and linked up with Semedo and got a little one-two, and we’ve seen Neves pushing on to get the winning goal.

“That’s what they’ve got to do. They need to take it in turns to get into the box because it’s going to be a battle up there. We’ve seen it with Jimenez getting frustrated about playing up there on his own and not getting much of the ball, but you just need a little bit of help.

“You can see the manager is waving his team higher up the pitch because he wants them to get up there and that is coming from him.”

On Gomes’ rescinded red card and Traore’s offside goal

Hakeman said: “It was a yellow because his foot wasn’t off the ground and he almost slipped into it. It was slightly clumsy, but it was a yellow card. I don’t think there was any danger and if you start giving those as red cards then people won’t be able to tackle any more, so it was the right decision from the referee.

“We’ve had a couple of positive calls from VAR in the last few games, and it’s about time, but it makes you a little bit worried about what’s to come! But it was the right decision and that’s how VAR should work.”

Thompson added: “It evened itself up with Traore’s goal! But the reaction and all the teams’ reaction was important. Sa and Coady have run the length of the pitch and we saw that the other day as well, so you can see they’re all together as a squad and there’s no better feeling as a team to have that.

“You saw what it meant to him and you saw the passion that he’s still got for playing for this Wolves team, the passion the players have got for him and the belief they’ve got in him. I still think he’s got a massive future for Wolves and still has a lot to offer this football club. I want him to stay, I think the players want him to stay and it just shows at the end when he scored the goal that he’s still passionate about this club.”

You can watch Matchday Live Extra 30 minutes before every Wolves kick-off this season, on Twitter and on Wolves TV, before heading over to the Wolves App following full-time for all the post-match reaction.