Gary O'Neil: Wolves deserved Man City win due to training preparation
Gary O’Neil believes Wolves’ preparation in training was key to their hard-fought win over Manchester City.
A switch to a back five saw Wolves put in a spirited display full of defensive discipline and counter-attacking threat.
And O’Neil felt the work on the training field resulted in the big win.
“We worked hard on it for three days with the players and the game looked exactly as we’d prepped for, which is helpful,” O’Neil said.
“I go into quite a lot of detail with them and predicted Man City would use the structure they use quite often.
“We managed to force the ball into areas we wanted it. Of course you still need to ride your luck a little bit, they have fantastic players, but in terms of the game looking exactly how we prepped for and the lads carrying out the game plan, it was perfect.
“We had discipline, understanding and quality as well. It was a really impressive performance from the boys.
“Man City are a very structured team and you sort of know where everyone is going to be and you can prep for that.
“The lads stayed fully focused and Cunha screened the pivot for so long. We did some work on it on Thursday and after six minutes I could see his brain was starting to fry.
“I was like ‘come on mate, we’ve done six minutes, we’re going to need 90 of this on Saturday, so keep your brain switched on’.
“There was loads of work that went in and he was excellent at his job, especially because so much of it is defensive.
“For Pedro (Neto) , Cunha and Channy (Hwang Hee-chan) to be offensive players and be that diligent without the ball for that long, was an incredible effort, and they carried a real threat on the counter for us which was important.”
Molineux was loud and hostile from the first whistle as the supporters jeered former player Matheus Nunes, who went on strike in late August to force through his £53million move to City.
But O’Neil does not believe that played a part in the result, and it was Rodri’s absence in midfield that instead helped Wolves.
When asked if the atmosphere in response to Nunes helped the team, O’Neil added: “I don’t believe too much in that.
“Rodri missing is a big plus. He makes that team tick a lot better and when he’s the pivot, it’s a lot more difficult to stop.
“The result is down to the fact we’ve worked unbelievably hard for the last six weeks. The lads are sticking to the process, understand where we’re trying to get to and managed to put it all together.”
After getting his first managerial job last season when he took over at Bournemouth, O’Neil is still in the infancy of his career as a coach.
With that in mind, he felt this win was the biggest of his career as Wolves took down last season’s treble winners with a superb performance.
When asked if it is the biggest win of his career, O’Neil said: “I guess so. They all feel big at the time and I’m still very new, it’s just over a year I’ve been doing it, so if you beat the best team in the world – or possibly the best team ever – it’s obviously a big result.
“In terms of what it means for the team and the club, it’s another three points. It’s an unexpected three points against the team that will probably win the league again, but it’s three points.
“As we had to on Tuesday, we reset and get ready to go again.”