Julen Lopetegui praised the fight displayed by Wolves during a sequence of three consecutive away draws, but he knows more is needed in Saturday’s Premier League six-pointer against West Ham.
Wolves sit 19th in the table, one point behind the Hammers ahead of facing them at Molineux Stadium, though they have shown signs of life since Lopetegui took charge during the World Cup break.
Lopetegui’s side have drawn at Aston Villa, Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in their last three outings – though the latter stalemate was followed by a penalty shoot-out defeat, but he knows there is more work to be done.
“I want to highlight the fight of the players again, because we have played three matches away from Wolverhampton and we haven’t lost, but we haven’t won,” Lopetegui said. “To continue, we have to improve some things. It’s going to be a very hard and long race.
“We have another very important match in front of us, and we have to put the focus on the next match.”
Like Wolves, West Ham have unexpectedly found themselves fighting to stay in the top flight after a run of six Premier League games without a win, and winger Jarrod Bowen is eager for them to set the tone on Saturday.
“We’ve already beaten them at home this season, which was a good result,” Bowen said of Wolves. “There’s been progress from us in the last few weeks too. We want to be respectful to them, but we want to stamp our authority on the game, and we need to start doing that now. ‘Momentum’ is the big word.
“It’s about putting our best display on, not just for our team-mates and staff, but the fans as well. They want to see us play and do better of course, so it’s now down to us to do that.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wolves – Daniel Podence
Podence has scored two goals in his last three Premier League games for Wolves, as many as he had in his previous 19 beforehand. Eight of his 10 Premier League goals overall have come in the first half of games, including each of his last five.
West Ham – Gianluca Scamacca
Scamacca scored his first Premier League goal in the reverse fixture against Wolves – he’s never scored home and away against an opponent in the same season in his top-flight career and will be keen to do so for the first time at Molineux.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Wolves have lost four of their last five Premier League games against West Ham, though they did win their last home game against them in November 2021.
– West Ham are looking to win three consecutive league games against Wolves for the first time since a run of eight between 1920 and 1958.
– Wolves have won four points in their three league games under Julen Lopetegui so far (W1 D1 L1), as many as they had in their previous nine before his arrival. However, they’ve lost their last four matches at home, last having a longer losing run at Molineux in the Premier League between January and April 2012 (nine).
– West Ham are winless in their last six Premier League games, their longest such sequence since a run of seven between January and February 2020. Away from home, they are winless in seven (D2 L5), their longest such run in the Premier League on the road since a run of eight between December 2019 and July 2020.
– West Ham’s Bowen has scored four goals in his last five Premier League games against Wolves, netting more goals against them than he has against any other opponent in the competition.