They have to play for the fans

Wolves' Head Coach, Walter Zenga, is no strange to local derbies and believes his players must play with passion at St Andrews on Saturday afternoon.

Zenga's side travel to Birmingham City in their fourth outing of the 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship season and, while this is the first British derby the Head Coach will take part in, he is no stranger to a local derby.


“As a player, I played in the AC Milan/Inter Milan derby and the Genoa/Sampdoria derby," explained Zenga.


“As a coach, I’ve experienced the big Romanian derby, Steaua v Dinamo Bucharest, the amazing Serbian derby between Red Star and Partizan Belgrade. There are derbies everywhere I’ve been.


“These are the special games, the games where players must play with heart and passion. They have to play for the fans, for everybody and this is what we’re going to do. 


“These games are special, something you cannot explain with words. It’s something inside you.


“You know it’s a special game but, at the same time, you have to know that it’s a game where you play for three points like any other."


Blues have made a similar start to their season, having won one game and drawn two and the gaffer knows he'll have another tough test on his hands.


He said: “I know the coach well, I know their style of play and I have some interesting information on the team.


“I know that it’s going to be a tough game, they’re very strong and especially so at home.


“We will have to match them with our own style, our power and our mentality.


“Somebody may think that our draw at home with Ipswich was disappointing but I believe that it was one small brick in the big wall that we want to build.


“It’s important to improve your place in the league and to work day by day and not think beyond that."


The players had their first day off since the change of Head Coach on Wednesday as Zenga felt his side had worked hard enough to warrant it.


“When we talk about players being tired, I don’t mean physically," he explained.


“They are young men and I don’t think it’s right to talk about footballers being tired.


“It’s being tired mentally and maintaining concentration.


“It’s difficult for the younger players to keep concentration for a long time and in the right way.


“When you play Saturday, Tuesday and Saturday the game on Tuesday becomes the most difficult and you can see that through the results across the league.


“We know that this is a very difficult and tough season but the problem is keeping the concentration levels the same throughout the year.


“Yesterday I gave the players their first day off since I arrived at the club.


“I asked them to please make this sacrifice for me and they followed me. Then after Ipswich on Tuesday, I told them to take the next day off because they deserve it."


*Reminder that tomorrow's game is SOLD OUT for Wolves fans. Please do not travel without a ticket.  Alcohol will be on sale to away fans inside the stadium up until kick off, but not at half time.