Skipper Conor Coady admits Wolves have struggled to cope with the absence of injured star striker Raul Jimenez this season.
Jimenez, 29, has not played since fracturing his skull in a collision with Arsenal’s David Luiz in late November. Following the Mexico international’s injury, the West Midlanders won just one top-flight game in 11 attempts to plunge down the table.
It took Nuno Espirito Santo’s men until February to turn things around. During that month, the Molineux outfit were unbeaten in the league, winning three and drawing two games.
They have picked up just two more wins but sit 12th in the table and are virtually safe from relegation. It is clear where the problems lies, with Wolves bagging just 32 top-flight goals in 2020-2021 to date.
And Coady did not attempt to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes with his assessment of how things have played out.
“It’s quite obvious Raul’s affected us. It was a shocking injury and all we wanted after was his safety,” he told the club’s official website. “Raul’s a world class striker and if you lose a world class striker from your team, it’s always going to affect you in one way or another.
“Now he’s been training with us for a long while without the contact, so we hope he’s recovered safely and can get back as quickly as possible because it will be like a new signing again.
“But it was up to us as players when he got injured to move us forward as quickly as possible and I don’t think we’ve done that as well as we would have liked.”
Coady admits Wolves victims of their own success
Having gained promotion by winning the Championship in 2017-18, Wolves have finished seventh in the past two seasons. There has been an obvious downturn this term as they will not match those levels.
Monday sees the Black Country derby with struggling West Brom at the Hawthorns. And Coady believes that it is up to the players to ensure that they return to their former status as soon as possible.
“The last couple of years, we’ve set ourselves expectations and everybody has seen that we’ve finished in good positions in the table,” he added. “Where we are now is something we don’t think has been good enough and we want to improve.
“If you look at the previous two years, this season hasn’t been an improvement on that. We’re not happy with how the season has gone.
“It’s up to us to try and get back to improving as quick as possible, learn from the mistakes that have happened this season and try and put that right as quickly as possible.”