Shropshire Star

Gary O'Neil delighted with Wolves' matchwinner

Gary O’Neil has heaped praise on ‘extremely impressive’ Wolves matchwinner Joao Gomes.

Last updated

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

The Brazilian shone in the capital as his two goals downed Spurs on their own turf.

His performance, aside from the goals, also caught the eye and O’Neil was beaming with his display – especially considering he almost missed the game through injury.

“I knew he would be massive to us with the way I saw the game going and what I thought we’d need from the game plan,” O’Neil said.

“He suffered a kick on his foot on Wednesday in training. He kicked the bottom of someone’s boot and it swelled up quite badly.

“So we were worried that we were not going to have him back in time.

“I knew that would be a huge blow because today’s game was going to suit him.

“We were going to be without the ball for spells, but we were going to try to make it compact and we knew he’d be able to press people and regain the ball like he did.

“And I thought he was, he was excellent at that.

“I’m very keen to still try to improve what he is with the ball.

“We work very hard on it with him, his understanding with the ball and how clean he is with it, sometimes with his passes.

“We just have to give him some criticism just to keep him grounded.

“We had a fantastic opportunity in the first half to counter-attack and he missed Pedro and it goes off for a throw-in.

“So in those moments I want for him, and for the team, for him to be perfect as well as what he was able to do today without the ball and obviously getting two fantastic goals.

“For a 23-year-old to come away to Tottenham and produce that performance is extremely impressive.”

When asked when he knew he would have Gomes available for the game, O’Neil added: “Yesterday (Friday) morning. I was worried he’d have to miss training Friday, but he was fine.

“And then I was just a bit worried that he might feel it during training, but he got through it fine and told me he was happy enough with how it felt.

“As I said, he was important to the game plan so I was desperate to have him involved today.”

Brazilian manager Dorival Junior was also in attendance, but was Gomes aware ahead of the game?

O’Neil said: “I have no idea. I’m not sure.

“I think you know what you’re going to get from Joao, whether there’s one person and his dog here watching or the Brazil manager or the Real Madrid manager or whoever else might want to watch.

“I hope he’s just trying to impress me and he impressed me today.

“So it’s a good day for him.”

Wolves’ win saw them do the double over Spurs, just two weeks after completing a league double over Chelsea, as they continue to target a top half finish.

The tactical plan worked perfectly and the head coach was delighted with how his players carried it out.

He said: “The result was excellent. To come to Tottenham and win is not easy so it’s a fantastic result for us.

“Performance wise, I thought we deserved the victory with the chances created.

“I thought we were excellent.

“We were able to counter-attack well, one thing which we know we’re going to be able to do with some detail of how we counter-attack Tottenham and why we were able to get in some good situations.

“But also when Tottenham pressed us, the lads were able to find really good solutions in the structure to cause them problems in possession as well as just counter.

“Then we knew we would be able to press aggressively sometimes and we would have to be in a real compact, low block and make the spaces as small as possible for them in others.

“And if they were the four key parts to the game plan, I thought we were near enough perfect in all of them.

“So credit to the group.”