O'Neil | 'Absolutely gutted we fell below it today'

Gary O’Neil says Wolves fell below their usual standards against Brentford but he knows how to put things right.

The head coach was dealt a double blow by losing his two leading goal scorers, Hee Chan Hwang on Friday and Matheus Cunha early on, to injury, and a marginal offside on Craig Dawson furthered the pain at 1-0, but he wasn’t looking for excuses when speaking post-match. Disappointed with the goals his side conceded, O’Neil was felt the intensity of the game played a part in the outcome, allowing the Bees to leave with the three points.

On what went wrong

“Quite a bit, actually. It started yesterday afternoon when Channy felt his calf, then losing Cunha early, so being without those two, as we’ve spoken about, makes it very difficult for us. Two unbelievable mistakes for the goals, really bad goals, and it allows Brentford to have their game then. We huffed and puffed, the lads tried, but when you give Brentford a lead and they have the back five and big centre halves, and with a couple of our key attackers missing, it’s a tough ask.

“Having said that, there’s a massive save just before half-time that their goalkeeper makes and then the offside is obviously unbelievably marginal. One that we have to take because we fell below what we’ve set so far, really disappointed with the performance, but also very clear on what needs to be done about it.”

On the game lacking intensity

“That’s playing Brentford, that’s the way it is. The ball’s out of play for ages, they take ages over everything, and try to cause problems from set plays. If you’d have said to me last night that we’d lose to Brentford here, I would have expected it to look exactly like that. That’s exactly what Brentford try and do, and we made a couple of mistakes that played into their hands and weren’t good enough to rectify.

“We started very slowly. Really sloppy with little things, missing people with the ball, poor first touches and created some impetus early for Brentford. Then two terrible mistakes for the goals, the first one from a set play. Giving them the lift we did made it a tough task for us.”

On Cunha going off injured

“He felt something in his hamstring. It doesn’t feel too bad now, so let’s see how he goes, hopefully nothing too serious because we’ve spoken about fortunately injuries haven’t gone against us this season too much, but as we saw today, he was a big loss. We’ll know a lot more by Monday, Tuesday. Hopefully Channy will be OK next week too.”

On putting Fraser on

“I felt we needed someone who would be able to recognise the spaces that we were trying to create on the back line, especially when we’d lost Cunha. People weren’t recognising it well enough and Nathan’s a number nine, so he’s next in line and he made some decent runs to be fair to him, got in a couple of good positions, and he was the option we decided to go with.”

On what he needs to see from his team

“We’ve done a really good job as a group. The group have done an unbelievable job maintaining a high level generally. Absolutely gutted we fell below it today and the players will be as well, so using the elation of last week and what we managed to produce compared to how we feel now to make sure we perform better than we did today. There were factors which contributed, but if we look at the performance as a whole, it was obviously nowhere near good enough.”