Wolves were able to hold off a late challenge from Norwich to secure a point in a goalless draw at Carrow Road. Dean Smith felt this was an improvement on the 2-1 home win over Southampton that kicked off his tenure last weekend. “We were probably fortunate to get an extra two points last week and probably unfortunate to lose a couple of points this week,” he said.
“I thought our overall performance was really good. They gave us problems in the first 20 minutes with the two players in the pockets but then we changed it and went a flatter three in midfield and I felt we dealt with that. When I first came in I said I wanted us to stop giving away big chances, which we did today. We restricted them to very few and I’m not sure Tim (Krul) has had much to do today and we created four big chances. On another day we win the game.”
The visitors went into the game having won five of their previous seven matches but struggled to find their rhythm. Norwich had just one victory to their name when Smith replaced Daniel Farke eight days after his own dismissal from Aston Villa. They have taken four points from his first two games and here pulled level on points with Burnley in 18th having played a game more.
Norwich looked to get on the front foot, with Teemu Pukki and Josh Sargent firing early chances over the bar. Wolves striker Raúl Jiménez had an early chance to score his fourth goal since returning to action following a career-threatening skull fracture, but the ball from Rayan Aït-Nouri was just too far ahead of him and goalkeeper Tim Krul was able to gather.
Just before half-time, Krul had to come off his line to prevent the ball from reaching Jiménez. It was then cleared straight to João Moutinho who hit a low drive but Krul was able to get up quickly and save with his feet to keep the score level. Less than two minutes later, Wolves keeper José Sá was called into action to deny Max Aarons who played a one-two with Lukas Rupp before taking a shot.
The best chance of the match fell to Pukki after the break. He found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper after being picked out by Rupp, but his shot was straight at Sá. Rupp had a chance with 10 minutes remaining when he managed to get a foot to a cutback from Milot Rashica, who had made a clever run down the left, but his effort lacked power and the Wolves goalkeeper was able to make the save.
Wolves manager Bruno Lage admitted his side lacked a “spark” to find the breakthrough. “I think we started the game very well. The first 20 minutes we managed the game the way we liked, it worked,” Lage said. “In the final third I think we could be more aggressive and create our own chances. When the ball arrived I think we couldn’t do the moves the way we wanted to.
“Sometimes I think the players need to understand they can face situations in one against one and shoot to the goal. I think we missed a spark. Second half the game was more balanced. We lost some balls on the sides because of some transitions and Norwich created good chances for them, so if you look at the whole game it’s a point but I think in that moment we should do better.”