Nuno Espirito Santo and Wolves were just seconds away from a place in this season’s FA Cup final on Sunday, before a VAR induced Troy Deeney penalty jolted them into extra time and heartbreak.
A 3-2 defeat, having lead by two goals in a dominant performance, will be one of the most bitter pills to swallow for the Wolverhampton Wanderers faithful. However, Espirito Santo’s men must do everything in their power to put this result behind them and stay focused on the remainder of their season.
Their return to the Premier League has been one of the most successful of any promoted side in the history of the division. This defeat will hurt and the players will be devastated at missing out on a final place, however, there are still so many positives for this football club, who are clearly being primed for success.
Wolves have been a breath of fresh air this season, having roared up out of the Championship with an impressive squad and wealthy, ambitious owners.
Backed by a Chinese investment group, a super agent, and an exciting young manager, the club has brought their own brand of fearless, fierce football to the top flight.
Espirito Santo’s men are set up to be aggressive in their approach. A direct style, mixed with intense pressing and high numbers in their defensive unit, makes them a real tough nut to crack for anyone visiting the Black Country.
Flat track bullies
Results have been impressive from the outset – despite a few blips along the way – 13 points have been accrued against the top six as Molineux has become one of the most feared away days in the division. They are no flat track bullies and have forged their impressive points tally with some excellent performances and genuine quality.
This shows an attitude at the club that has been molded to show no fear or intimidation regardless of the opponents. Erratic defeats to Burnley, Huddersfield and Cardiff have hurt them at times, but for a promoted side, albeit a rich one, they have punched above their weight all season.
All of the above has helped to generate an environment that is wholly attractive from the outside looking in.
The likes of Connor Coady and Matt Doherty have gone up a level this season. Both have caught the eye with splendid campaigns and growing confidence; proof of the good work being done on the training ground behind the scenes.
Other more expensive and experienced elements of the squad namely: Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho have also come in and taken up the mantle thrown down by Espirito Santo.
To see so many players improving and enjoying their football at Wolves could well act as something of a magnet to potential transfer targets in the summer. This is a club on the up and aiming high, who wouldn’t want a piece of the action?
On the eve of their Wembley trip, Wolves confirmed the club record £30 million signing of their current loan star Raul Jimenez. The Mexican is yet another in the old gold shirt that has caught the eye this season, with 16 goals in all competitions.
Yes, £30 million is just about the going rates these days for Premier League budgets, but record signings are the kind of headlines that will turn heads and keep fans happy.
FA Cup final or not, this is a club with the capital and the ambition to make a decent go at success. Europe is still in the equation this season and the fans are very much behind this group of players.
On the pitch, they radiate confidence and a togetherness that has emboldened them to take on the biggest and best this season and come away with more than just a severe bruising. With a young manager in place who demands the highest of standards, Wolves should be able to move on from their Wembley heartache and continue to strive for the success that once the hallmark of this famous old club.