Nuno Espirito Santo believes it is the foundations laid during Wolves’ Championship-winning season that have inspired such a fine start to life in the Premier League.
Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace took them up to seventh place, represented their sixth clean sheet from their past seven games and came as they became the first team in the history of the Premier League to name an unchanged XI for their opening eight games.
The glamorous summer arrivals of Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez intensified the interest surrounding Nuno’s team, but the long-serving Matt Doherty scored their goal at Selhurst Park and has remained as influential as others with lower-profiles, including Conor Coady and Wily Boly.
“We have to look really far behind to the previous season,” said the Wolves manager, who, in the era of squad rotation, has relied on a small core of players.
“The style and the way we play, the shape of the team was building through time. If you play and train with the same team-mates, it becomes easier and more effective.
“At the same time, I’m really pleased with the squad and I’m sure there can be other players that the tasks will be the same and hopefully the performance will be the same.
“The moment that we adjusted some details, the team was better and then in the second half we were really, really good.”
The improving Doherty’s goal came with his national team manager, Ireland’s Martin O’Neill, having previously revealed he was unconvinced by his attacking qualities.
But Nuno said: “Matt has been doing his job since last season. He didn’t change the way he approaches the competition, he’s doing well.
“What others want from Matt, I don’t really care.
“What I want is what Matt has been giving me and giving his team-mates – not only on the offensive part, but defensive set-pieces. He’s a very, very important player.”
Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey made a fine save from Raul Jimenez, when the forward was sent through one-on-one, before being beaten at his near post in the second half for Wolves’ goal.
Manager Roy Hodgson regardless defended his player, insisting: “It’s not just the goalkeeper. We didn’t defend the one-two very well and as a result he gets into a shooting position and is able to take the chance.
“I would have been expecting us to take that chance if one of our players had got in that position as well.”
Palace have yet to score in four home league fixtures this term and were briefly booed by their supporters at the final whistle.
Hodgson added: “I’ve never known fans come to watch football, having seen their team play three games without seeing a goal, then they have a fourth one, and not be frustrated and disappointed.
“There is only one way out of the situation and that is to make certain you score goals in the next game.”