Raul Jimenez insists he was the right man to take the decisive penalty that earned Wolves a point against Burnley as he saluted the character of the team.
The club record £32.6m signing kept his nerve to equalise in the 97th minute to earn a point for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in a 1-1 draw which maintained Wolves’ unbeaten start to the season.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were below par against the Clarets, particularly in the first half, when they trailed to Ashley Barnes’s 13th-minute strike. But they improved after the break and Jimenez hit the post before winning and despatching the decisive spot kick for his first Premier League goal of the season and sixth in all competitions.
Midfielder Ruben Neves normally takes the spot kicks and was still on the pitch at the time. But it was Jimenez who stepped up to take it and score and he always felt capable of delivering, despite the pressure of the situation.
“I hit the same post last weekend, then at the end, for the penalty, the referee was right, and I had the calm to take it, shoot, and score,” said the Mexico international to Wolves TV.
“It’s good for me to take that responsibility – in that last minute, the last play of the match. I have taken penalties in finals and other instances, so I have experience. I have to be calm. This time I had it, and it was good for us to get a point.”
Jimenez also saluted Wolves’ spirit after they rescued a point despite not being at their best. “That’s something that characterised us last season,” he said. “It’s something we had to do in all matches – to fight to the end. Until the referee says it’s all over, we’re never going to fall down. We will keep working to equalise or to win the game. When they scored, something happened to us, but we knew we had very good players to equalise.”
A point made it three successive draws to start the Premier League season and eight unbeaten including the Europa League. Wolves are one of only four unbeaten teams in the Premier League after top two Liverpool and Manchester City and Leicester, who are fourth.
Wolves are now preparing for the second leg of their Europa League play-off to decide who enters the group stages. They lead Torino 3-2 from the first tie with the return at a sold-out Molineux on Thursday night.
Jimenez believes they must go into the tie believing they have to win on the night to guarantee progressing against the Italians, rather than trying to batten down the hatches and seeing the game out.
“We have to work these three days, but first of all rest, then thinking we have to win the next match,” he said. “We have to go on the pitch thinking we have to win because it’s a good opportunity for us to be in the Europa League.”