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Wolves 2 Viktoria Plzen 1 – Five talking points

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published:

Wolves won their second successive pre-season game, beating Viktoria Plzen 2-1 in Austria.

Celebrations after Matt Doherty's goal (© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY)

Goals from Nouha Dicko and Matt Doherty were enough to give Nuno Espirito Santo's side victory.

They produced another quietly impressive performance, albeit in a fairly sedentary encounter in rural Westendorf.

So what did we learn from the game? Wolves correspondent Tim Spiers picks out five talking points.

Deadly Dicko

Nouha Dicko (© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY)

Two (half) pre-season games and two goals for Nouha Dicko.

With fans desperate for the club to sign a prolific and proven striker, Dicko is certainly making his case for inclusion in the XI when Wolves kick off against Middlesbrough on August 5.

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It may only have been a two-yard tap in, but how many times did that ball roll across the six-yard box with no one to finish it off last season?

Not only that, Dicko looks fitter and half a yard sharper than last season.

He must be licking his lips at the prospect of being fed chances by creative players either side of him (Costa, Cavaleiro, Zyro, Graham, Mason, plus wing backs Douglas and Doherty) and latching on to through balls from the likes of Neves, Saiss, Ronan and Price.

In those circumstances you'd back Dicko, certainly in this form, to better the 15-goal haul from his last full season in a Wolves shirt, 2014/15.

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Others to impress

Ivan Cavaleiro (© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY)

Jack Price again looked very assured in midfield, as did Ruben Neves who enjoyed what looked a carefree 45 minutes in which he didn't give the ball away.

Roderick Miranda was the only player to play the full 90 minutes and didn't really put a foot wrong, while youngsters Bright Enobakhare and Connor Ronan displayed the pure technique that has fans hoping they can make a big impression this season, even if you got a nagging feeling that both players could be better utilised in different positions (Enobakhare as a wide forward and Ronan in central midfield).

But after Dicko the one to most impress was Ivan Cavaleiro, who was involved in both goals and looked bright, lively and on his game. The 'left forward' role in this 3-4-3 suits him.

Cult hero

Willy Boly (© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY)

No soon has one cult hero in Jon Dadi Bodvarsson departed Wolves another has announced himself...and his name is Willy Boly.

Yes his name helps (I counted five Willy songs in the first half, all unprintable) but so does his whole-hearted non-nonsense style, his aggressive approach to defending and his mammoth stature, which in vehicle form can only be compared to a tank, all add to the cult status.

He also looks a threat at set pieces, having won a couple of headers in the opposition box now without finding the target.

He's no polished diamond but Boly will more than hold his own in the Championship this season, certainly physically.

Organised

Danny Batth (© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY)

One thing that Nuno's Wolves certainly do look is organised. Repetitive work on shape and positioning on the training field is being replicated in matches and that's a very good sign.

The players know their roles, the back three have barely given away a chance in open play during the two matches so far and the wing backs have been used to good effect (Matt Doherty scored here and Barry Douglas provided an assist).

Discipline and organisation are key in any league but certainly in the helter skelter 46-game Championship. Wolves are doing all the right things so far in that regard.

Bigger tests to come

Nuno Espirito Santo (© AMA SPORTS PHOTO AGENCY)

To temper the positivity you have to say there'll be far bigger tests on the horizon in the coming weeks. Bremen and Plzen were no great shakes and it's far easier to spray passes around side to side on the deck in a glorified training game than in the heat of a Championship battle at an expectant Molineux where the opposition are constantly in your faces.

But that's all to come. And the hope is that the groundwork and the foundations for a successful season are being laid here.

Certainly the 3-4-3 system continues to look promising. There are gaps in the squad that need filling, predominantly at wing back (Ben Marshall's absence is a blow and it remains to be seen if Nuno thinks youngsters Aaron Simpson and Sylvain Deslandes can prove adequate back-ups to Doherty and Douglas) and up front, regardless of Dicko's form, as Enobakhare isn't a central striker (which makes Niall Ennis' omission from this tour a disappointing one).

But the confidence from winning football matches cannot be bought. In isolation winning these games means very little, but a winning or unbeaten run during the next four friendlies will mean confidence would be soaring for that stern opening test against Boro in three weeks.

Interest in Nuno's Wolves is huge (ticket sales are rapid for that Boro game and hits on the Express & Star website for the past two matches have been the highest in years despite them being just pre-season friendlies).

Everyone's getting on board the rollercoaster for another season.

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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