Rob Edwards admitted it’s going to be ‘very tough’ for Wolves Under-23s to win Premier League 2 Division Two after losing 1-0 away to Villa.
Wolves suffered their third straight defeat – all on the road – to stay in second place, two points behind leaders Southampton with two games left.
Edwards’s side are above Newcastle on Reading on goal difference, while Villa are fifth, a point behind.
Wolves, watched by midfielder Ruben Neves, chairman Jeff Shi, managing director Laurie Dalrymple and sporting director Kevin Thelwell and a host of former players, were beaten by Cameron Archer’s 53rd-minute goal at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium.
“We want to win the league but now it’s going to be very tough – Southampton are in the box seat after the last couple of results, and there are other teams right in amongst now who we’re fighting with, so we’ve got to make sure we get some momentum back quickly,” said Edwards.
The coach admits Wolves need to address their mini-dip quickly.
“You look at that performance in the first half and we didn’t look a team lacking in confidence,” he said. “But the longer it goes on, people will start having one or two doubts, so we’ve got to try to put that right quickly.”
It was a real game of two halves played in driving rain, with Wolves on top in the first period and Villa dominant after the break.
“There was a 45 minutes to be proud of and we were pleased with, and a 45 minutes that we weren’t. We’ve got to learn from that,” admitted Edwards.
The closest Wolves came to scoring was when centre back Dion Sanderson volleyed against the angle of post and bar in the first half but Villa dominated them after the break and could have won by more.
Edwards added: “We played really in the first half and showed some good control and created some really good opportunities but didn’t take them, although Villa’s threat was there and Andreas (Sondegaard) was called into action a couple of times with their clinical counter attacks.
“We spoke about that at half-time in that we had to be really organised when we had the ball through transition.
“When they got the goal it deflated us a bit and it spurred them on and then, we lacked a bit of relief for whatever reason, and Villa were able to sit in, nick it and wait and created one or two good chances again on that transition.
“It was disappointed we played to their strengths in the second half because we spoke a lot about being organised and being ready for that transition and we didn’t do that, and then also we weren’t able to muster the belief or the quality to try to get back into the game.”
Wolves play mid-table Stoke at Molineux next Monday (7pm) and Edwards wants a reaction.
“We’re a little bit frustrated and down. We have got another game in a week’s time and we’ve got to get ourselves up for that,” he said.
“We will try to pick them up and have a positive reaction to it, and not feel sorry for ourselves. It’s a learning experience and these players are developing still.
“We want to win but at the same time we have to understand they have done really well this season with a lot of good performances and keep believing.
“Also, Villa have always had good players and there are some really good players and teams in this league.”