Paul Lambert paid tribute to a “fantastic” performance from his Wolves side as they saw off Aston Villa in tonight’s Midlands derby in front of a packed and vibrant Molineux.
Joe Mason’s first half goal proved enough to clinch three points in a hard-fought contest, Wolves also making it three successive clean sheets in earning a first home win against Villa in 12 attempts stretching back to 1978.
“I thought we were fantastic today,” said the Head Coach.
“We’ve been playing like that for a number of weeks.
“You can sense it when we come into games now, that everything about our game is really strong.
“We pressed the game really well, we were energetic and we looked a threat.
“We showed a great belief, will to win and a great desire – all the things you need to win a game of football.
“There is a great spirit and togetherness there, allied with the ability.
“I have just tried to galvanise everything a little bit since I came in but it is the players who deserve all the credit – they are the ones out there playing the game.
“We defended really strongly, kept another clean sheet, and going forward we looked a threat.
“We are on the crest of a wave and moving in the right direction.”
Wolves strikers have found goals hard to come by in recent times, but Mason broke that sequence when guiding home the only goal of the game in the 15th minute.
“I thought Joe started the game really well,” said Lambert.
“He faded a bit and then came back strongly.
“His confidence is there and he was trying flicks in and around the 18 yard box.
“I thought Dicko was incredible with his running, Costa the same, Cavaleiro.
“We are still a really young side and we will make mistakes but we are also very exciting.
“They are lads that want to learn and want to improve.
“We always try to get on the front foot in games – we don’t know any other way.”
Lambert revealed he had faced some difficult selection decisions going into the game given how well his different previous two teams had fared away at Sheffield Wednesday and Stoke.
“It was a very difficult decision for me to leave some of the lads out who had played so well at Stoke,” he said.
“Leaving Mike and Lee out in particular was one of the biggest decisions I have made in management.
“But the other lads had been playing well too, such as Danny and Richard in defence.
“I didn’t even pick the team until this morning – we did a little bit of shape on Thursday but I couldn’t nail a team down because of how well we had done at Stoke.
“The confidence at the minute is flowing through everyone and I think that is important.
“We have got some big games coming up with Norwich and whatever happens in the cup and people will get their chance.”
Lambert, who praised both sets of supporters for a “brilliant and fitting tribute” in memory of Graham Taylor, also said the three points didn’t feel any more special given it was against the club he had once managed.
“It doesn’t mean anything more to me that it is Aston Villa,” he said.
“I have said all along I have great respect for Aston Villa, and have never said anything bad about them.
“It is a fantastic club, but I am also at an unbelievable football club now.
“It has got great history, with great players and a vibrant fanbase which wants success.
“You can feel all that in the stadium, and we are on the right path.
“The scenes at the end are fantastic and I have said before I would pay to watch that Icelandic clap.
“When I have had success at clubs before, that togetherness has always been there.
“That is like Champions League finals, and titles, you need a strong team and a strong football club with no fractures in it.
“The players and the supporters have to be right with each other.
“Whether it has been Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, the fans have had a massive part to play in that.”
What excites Lambert more is that he still believes there is much more to come from this Wolves side.
“We are still a country mile away from it, from where I want to get to,” he explained.
“But we are exciting, and we have got a group of lads who are incredibly hungry to succeed.
“Hopefully anyone who comes to watch us knows they are going to be entertained.
“If we can keep the level of consistency we have shown in recent weeks then we will be a really good side.
“We have built up a bit of momentum at the minute – long may it continue.”