Get out your chequebooks – What can Fulham learn from Wolves going into the crucial part of the season?
This weekend, Slavisa Jokanovic and Nuno Espirito Santo square up in an all mighty promotion clash that promises to be a game to remember. Wolves are currently 12 points clear at the top of the table and have shown no signs of being about to slip up in a way that would stop their march to the title, and to the Premier League.
Fulham themselves are on a brilliant run and have hauled themselves into playoff contention and Craven Cottage is a difficult ground to play at. So Fulham will be hoping that they can play on these advantages to turn the match in their favour.
Wolves have been all-conquering this season, and have some of the best players in the Championship. Clubs throughout the league will be looking to copy their blueprint in the future but what can teams like Fulham learn from Nuno Espirito Santo’s side?
First of all, the thing that sets Wolves apart is their goal difference – a massive 33 at this stage. Very simply, they have scored the most goals and conceded the least. John Ruddy and his back line have kept 17 clean sheets, which is the most in the league.
By contrast, Fulham have only collected 7, and while the front line of Fulham can be frightening at times, the defence is not as solid as it is required to be. In the Championship, margins like this are the difference between 1st and 5th where Fulham currently sit. The performance levels of the Wolves defenders are always of an incredibly high level – Boly, Coady and Bennett hate to concede and they very rarely do.
Fulham are currently on an excellent run where they haven’t lost in the league since the middle of December but they did go 6 games without a win earlier in the season and it appeared at that stage that Jokanovic may be out of a job. The consistency with which Wolves have been producing results must be the benchmark for all teams in this league.
When this team loses, they bounce back straightaway. Many reports from players within the camp say that the team know each other so well that when they lose there isn’t a ‘blame game’ to determine who was at fault, instead they just pick themselves up and put it right in the next game.
The other thing to consider is the amount of money spent. Not only have Wolves walked the league in some respects, they have bought it as well. Although Nuno Espirito Santo brought a superior level of coaching to take this team to the next level, the amount of money they are able to spend has very much helped.
Of the 5 most expensive transfers in the Championship, 3 of the top 5 have been made by Wolves, whereas Fulham only have 2 in the top 25. At the end of the day, money talks.