Gary O’Neil name-drops three Tottenham players in ‘strength’ dig

Wolverhampton Wanderers' English head coach Gary O'Neil (R) gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on November 11, 2023. (Photo by Darren Staples / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)

Gary O’Neil believes the absence of three Tottenham Hotspur players was key to Wolverhampton Wanderers’ dramatic 2-1 win on Saturday afternoon. The Wolves head coach has spoken of his immense pride at his group’s performance but is aware of Spurs lacking their usual strength in key areas.

The Old Gold thought they were down and out as 87 minutes had passed without a goal since Brennan Johnson’s very early opener for Tottenham, but a late surge resulted in a complete turnaround. A stunning half-volley from super substitute Pablo Sarabia and a composed finish from Mario Lemina converted zero points into three within added time, roaring Molineux to bedlam.

O’Neil, reacting to the result in the post-match press conference, was honest about Spurs' frailties helping Wolves out. “I’m not going to lie, them missing [Cristian] Romero, [Micky] van de Ven and James Maddison was a huge positive for us today,” O’Neil admitted. “It’s not the reason we won the game, we still had to go out there and win the game, but would you rather face Tottenham with or without them three?

“But there are other teams around the country with different issues. We’ve got no Pedro [Neto] at the moment, that’s been big for us. Sometimes you get unfortunate and you have to play a team at full strength, sometimes they’re missing a couple. Today we had an opportunity against the best side Spurs could pick and we managed to take it,” O’Neil continued.

Three huge points in response to the disappointment at Sheffield United last weekend sees Wolves soar up to 11th in the Premier League standings, just goal difference away from the top 10. An international break now awaits for Wanderers to recoup some energy, before a trip to Fulham on the night of November 27.