People thought it was impossible – Julen Lopetegui happy to prove doubters wrong

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Boss Julen Lopetegui believes Wolves have proved the doubters wrong as they close in on Premier League safety.

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

It left them 13th, level with the Eagles, and nine points clear of the relegation zone with five games left.

Julen Lopetegui congratulates Wolves keeper Jose Sa, left, after the game
Julen Lopetegui congratulates Wolves keeper Jose Sa after the game (Nick Potts/PA)

He said: “They have been very important victories, we need points to achieve our aim. Four months ago all the people thought it was impossible. Now, it’s at least possible so we have to fight very hard to achieve our aim.

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

“It has been a very hard match. We were playing against a very strong team. They have played their last matches at a top level.

“We have to work a lot, to achieve our aim we have to get more points. It’s an important victory but we have to keep on working.

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

Andersen unwittingly put Wolves ahead after just three minutes when he turned in Neves’ corner from close range.

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

Wolves had been on top before the break but the visitors improved in a second half of few chances and Sa turned over Eberechi Eze’s dipping drive.

With a slender lead the hosts were edging towards victory and Palace gave them another gift in injury time.

Sam Johnstone collected a throw-in but a heavy touch left him lunging into Pedro Neto. The goalkeeper escaped a red card but was beaten by Neves from the spot.

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

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson suffered a first defeat since returning to Palace (Nick Potts/PA)

“Then the worst thing happens when you get robbed of those last three or four minutes where there is hope.

“I don’t think 2-0 is a fair reflection on how the game went. We do have a healthy margin to the bottom three but I’m not interested in trying to preach to the players that we need X amount of points to stay up.

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

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