Climbing The Hill

Gaffer on the Championship marathon, Mick McCarthy and settling in

Walter Zenga insists he will not be getting carried away by the impressive victory against Reading as he challenged his players to carry on ‘climbing the hill’ against Ipswich Town tonight (7.45pm).

Wolves produced a convincing and powerful display to defeat the Royals on Saturday, but Zenga has warned that the Sky Bet Championship season is very much a marathon.

And whilst pleased with the manner of the performances just a fortnight into Wolves reign, the Head Coach will be looking for more of the same against Ipswich this evening.

“I told the players after Saturday that it was a great game and their attitude was very important,” said Zenga.

“The players played very well from the first whistle, pressing very high.

“We wanted to win the game and more than that we wanted to make a performance and create an enthusiasm in the stadium.

“But we have only started to climb the hill.

“We have to move on from this victory and think about a tough game against Ipswich -we must be fully concentrated on what we have to do.

“I am not excited if I win one game and I am not sad or worried if I don’t win one game.

“My job is day to day, game by game, and climbing the hill step by step.

“It is not a 100 metre race like Usain Bolt who just won in nine seconds – you cannot even see him on the TV because he has already finished!

“It is a marathon and that means you have to build up your house step by step, be calm and with full concentration.

“To get the fans excited they must know that the team is working hard, running for 90 minutes and doing their very best.

“This was just one good step.

“We cannot promise to win every game but can promise that we prepare every game in the right way to make the fans happy.”

There were warm words from Zenga for his opponent in the dugout this evening – Mick McCarthy, who led Wolves to promotion and three Premier League seasons during a six-year spell in the Wolves hotseat.

The two have been on opposite sides in their playing days, in the quarter finals of the 1990 World Cup no less!

“We prepare for a game against a strong team, a physical team, who know how to play and never give up,” added Zenga.

“The coach was here for six years, almost 2000 days – I wish for something like that!

“He knows everything about us – this is almost his house!

“He was an amazing player for the Irish national team and I played against him.

“I don’t need to ask anyone at the club about him because it is history which speaks for him.

“It is more impressive to talk about spending more than 2000 days at a club – that gives you an idea.

“All the respect goes to him and I hope that he is welcomed to Molineux in the right way because he deserves it.

“And when we start the game everyone will be thinking for themselves.

“It is a game which is very important for us and we have to approach it with a good mentality and a good attitude.

“My first thought is always about the team.

“It is about ‘we are’ not ‘I am’.”

Speaking while negotiations were continuing to bring in midfielder Prince Oniangue – the deal which was completed last night – Zenga acknowledged he would still like new faces to ensure his squad is well equipped for such a gruelling campaign.

“It is a very long season – 46 games – and the squad must be improved to have the same quality and freshness when it is rotated,” he said.

“Players are having to play three times a week at the moment.

“The rotation is the most important thing to keep the team in the right way all the time.

“That is why Prince is here and other players arrive.”

In terms of arriving, Zenga has also revealed the approach behind trying to ensure new staff and players quickly settled in alongside those already in situe at Wolves.

“When you arrive in a new place, one week before the start of the stadium, the approach will be clear,” he explained.

“I only bring one person with me on the coaching staff, Stefano, because I respect the coaching staff here.

“I know that when a manager chances people can be thinking ‘oh my gosh what is my position’.

“As Italians we are people that want to create the friendships and the relationships.

“Working hard but with a smile and a good approach is better than working with a nervous or a bad mentality.

“We have to understand the habits, the culture and the mentality of the players and not impose something but to propose something.

“If you don’t try in your life you never know if you can achieve the results.”


*Tickets for tonight’s game are still available from the Ticket Office only.  Fans wishing to purchase this evening, or collecting tickets, or advised to arrive as early as possible.  Tickets can be collected from the Ticket Office up until 5.30pm and then from the Prepaid Collections point.  Fans can also buy online and print at home with no admin fees.