People thought it was impossible: Julen Lopetegui happy to prove skeptics wrong

Boss Julen Lopetegui believes Wolves have proven the doubters wrong when approaching Premier League safety.

Joachim Andersen’s own goal and Ruben Neves’ late penalty gave Wolves a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at the Molineux.

It left them in 13th place, tied with the Eagles and nine points above the relegation zone with five games remaining.

Lopetegui was named the club’s penultimate but after four wins in his last five home games, he is close to his sixth successive season in the top flight.

He said: “They have been very important victories, we need points to achieve our goal. Four months ago everyone thought it was impossible. Now, at least it is possible, so we have to fight very hard to achieve our goal.

“It was a very bad situation but now we have hope and it is possible. We have worked very hard, we have to continue because we have not achieved anything.

“It has been a very tough game. We were playing against a very strong team. He has played his last matches at the highest level.

“We have to work hard, to achieve our goal we have to score more points. It’s an important victory but we have to keep working.

“We have to get more points. We have to be ready for the next five games”.

Andersen inadvertently put Wolves ahead after just three minutes when he converted into Neves’s corner from close range.

It was a goal from which Palace never recovered, but the hosts still needed Jose Sa to make a good save on Albert Sambi Lokonga in the first half.

Wolves had been up before the break, but the visitors improved in a second half with few chances and Sa deflected Eberechi Eze’s shot.

With a slight lead, the hosts were closing in on victory and Palace gave them another treat in stoppage time.

Sam Johnstone picked up a throw-in, but a hard touch left him charging into Pedro Neto. The goalkeeper escaped a red card but Neves beat him from the penalty spot.

“Thanks to Wolves, we had a lot of the ball in the second half and some of the football was very good. They defended well,” Palace manager Roy Hodgson said after their first loss since his return last month.

“It was difficult for us, with that number of players, to create a lot of space to get the draw that I thought we were going to get and that we deserved.

“Then the worst happens when they steal those last three or four minutes where there is hope.

“I don’t think 2-0 is a fair reflection of how the game went. We have a good margin over the last three, but I’m not interested in trying to preach to players that we need X number of points to stay on top.

“I enjoyed the performance but of course you don’t enjoy losing.”

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