Rob Edwards was happy with Wolves Under-23s and thought they were unlucky not to beat Everton after drawing 0-0 at AFC Telford on Sunday.
Everton, the league and cup holders, were the more dominant team in the first half but Wolves were the better side in the second and threatened three times through new midfield signing Bruno Jordao, while Elliot Watt and Meritan Shabani brought fine saves out of Nico Hansen in their opening home Premier League 2 Division 1 encounter. At the other end, Andreas Sondegaard twice denied Fraser Hornby in one-on-ones and Callum Connolly hit the top of the bar with a bullet header.
“I was really pleased. I think we did enough to win the game,” said Under-23s coach Edwards. “Just speaking to their goalkeeping coach as we were walking off, he said it was a good game and we’re just trying to gauge the level to see where we’re at. He said their goalkeeper touched the ball 63 times, I said ‘what’s the average?’ He said 45 so I think it’s safe to say we had enough chances to win the game, or even two games. On the flip side, Andreas (Sondegaard) made a really important save from them, maybe the only save he had to make but he did it.
“It would have been really frustrated if we hadn’t got anything out of it, similar to last week (lost 2-0 at Brighton) where we had opportunities but then not take anything from it. I was really pleased with the clean sheet and the performance and there were some really good individual performances.
“They stuck to the gameplan, and they played the way we do really well. It was frustrating not to win but results are a by product of the performance. If we keep playing like that and keep performing that way, we will pick up more points than not.
Edwards was pleased with the way Wolves managed the game as they had to be patient at times to try to open Everton up. “I just thought we showed bravery in possession and Everton also respected us and tried to get into that block and stop us playing,” he added. “So it was difficult to speed the game up – we had to be patient at times but then speed the game up at the right time.
“I thought we did that quite well, particularly in the wide areas. Everton have got a lot of knowhow, they have some good players, a real work ethic and an energy about them and an aggression, and we had to stand up to all of that. But I think we really imprinted our game on them as well. That was the pleasing thing.”
Wolves won Division 2 last season so this was only their second game at the higher level and Edwards believes there is a definite step up in terms of class of opposition. “There is a difference. Tactically teams are a little bit astute and technically there’s a little bit more there as well,” he said. “That’s not to be disrespectful to the teams we played last season because there are some outstanding teams – some of the Manchester United players, we all know them for example.
“But I think there is going to be a slightly higher level, so it’s going to be great for our boys and there will be some fantastic games this year. That’s what we wanted for them – they worked so hard last season to give themselves this opportunity and the next generation coming through have got the opportunity to play against the best teams.
“So we’re thoroughly enjoying it at the moment. I feel that over the two games so far we’ve definitely got a lot still to work on, but I think there’s a lot there to be really pleased with as well.”