Brian Glanville: Wolves And Newcastle Pull Off Shocking Victories
“We were fantastic,” exulted the Wolves captain Conor Coady after his team’s unexpected victory – a well merited one – but we should surely keep things in proper proportion. For the well beaten City side were without Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Leroy Sane and perhaps most significantly of all, Kevin De Bruyne, the outstandingly effective and creative attacker.
All credit to the City manager Pep Guardiola for not trying to use these salient facts as a valid excuse for his team’s defeat. Ilkay Gundogan, who had an ineffectual match in midfield, was equally modest. “We should have played better.” He said and who could contest that? “Wolves did well but we know how we can play and our qualities… The spaces were tiny. It was very difficult to play.”
But not for an ebullient Wolves who gallantly made light of the previous Thursday’s 4000-mile round journey to Istanbul, where they met Besiktas in the Europa League. For all these endeavours, their manager Bruno Espirito Santo was well entitled to enthuse, “My players ran like crazy.” Adama Traore scored both goals in the last 10 minutes; his right flank pace made him a threat all through the match.
In the circumstances and given that they were missing so many first-choice players it was quite baffling that Guardiola kept on the subs bench the greatly gifted teenaged attacker Phil Foden, who must surely be wondering what kind of future is afforded him by a club which fails to turn to him in such a dismal display as was this.
Rising from the ashes of their 5-0 thrashing at Leicester, Newcastle United found abundant consolation in victory over Manchester United. The 19-year-old Matty Longstaff joined his brother in the team and more than justified what might have seemed something of a gamble by his manager Steve Bruce with a fine all-round display and above all the winning goal.
Matty showed splendid self-belief on his debut, besides his brother in midfield, and watched by their father David, who was once an ice hockey star. “He trains every day with a big beaming smile,” said his delighted manager.
“Last night you go to bed dreaming of it,” said Matty on only his second appearance in the first team, “but you never think it will happen.” Emphatically it did and his goal justified Bruce’s decision to field him. “The first thing he said after coming off at the end was ‘Thank you’,” said Bruce. “That is ridiculous after what he’s just done.”
He pursued, “A lot of harsh words were spoken [after their 5-0 defeat] and rightly so. But you then need your team to perform and they did.” Emphatically so.
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