Wolves close to safety after win over Palace

 

Diego Costa of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates his team's first goal with team mates Matheus Cunha, Ruben Neves, Nelson Semedo and Hwang Hee-Chan during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crystal Palace at Molineux on April 25, 2023 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

Julen Lopetegui insists his Wolves side still need “more points” to stay up despite taking a huge step towards securing their Premier League status for next season with victory over Crystal Palace at Molineux.

In a match low on clear-cut chances, Wolves went in front after three minutes when Ruben Neves’ corner bounced off the knee of Palace centre-back Joachim Andersen and in off the crossbar.

A scrappy and tetchy affair was eventually settled by Neves’ stoppage-time penalty as Wolves, who were bottom of the table when Lopetegui took charge in November, moved nine points clear of the relegation zone.

“They are important points for us but they are not definitive,” the Wolves boss told BBC Sport. “We have to get more points. It’s an important win for us.”

Albert Sambi Lokonga came closest to providing a Palace equaliser before half-time but his snap-shot from eight yards out was saved by Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa.

Palace were on top for much of the second half but struggled to create any real opportunities of note with Eberechi Eze’s dipping left-footed effort from distance, tipped over by Sa, the closest they came to scoring.

“Maybe they dominated us in the second half but I don’t remember them having clear chances,” Lopetegui added.

“Maybe when you score so quickly sometimes you think a lot to defend this goal and sometimes you forget to do different things. We needed to have more of the ball. Palace are a good team. It’s a very difficult victory for us. We had to work hard. We’re happy.”

Wolves offered next to nothing going forward in the last half hour but held on before Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone brought down Pedro Neto as he tried to atone for his own poor touch.

Neves made no mistake from the spot and sealed a win that puts Wolves level on points with 12th-placed Palace.

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