Bournemouth earn a point but Wolves’ Bruno Lage sees his side booed off | Premier League


It felt significant, and somewhat pointed, that a day since Scott Parker was sacked, in part at least, for refusing to play happy families that the message displayed on the big screens and reiterated over the speakers before kick-off was “Together, anything is possible”, Bournemouth’s motto en route from League Two to the Premier League. A dogged and courageous display to earn a point against a painfully blunt Wolves side certainly seemed to back up that sentiment.

A degree of trepidation given the manner of their mauling by Liverpool was understandable but they roused themselves to keep out a Wolves team who have problems of their own to resolve. Bruno Lage’s side were booed off by their fans at the final whistle.

In fairness, such a scenario would have been avoided had Raúl Jiménez not dinked wide after being slid through one on one with the Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto with 12 minutes to play or Daniel Podence’s diving header not been cleared off the line by the returning Bournemouth captain, Lloyd Kelly. In the first half Matheus Nunes, Wolves’ record signing, smacked the crossbar and after the break Jiménez also dropped a header off target.

Parker’s dismissal 26 days into the season inevitably sharpened the focus on Bournemouth in the buildup to this match but by the end it was hard to know which club finds themselves in a stickier situation. For Bournemouth, suddenly four points from their opening five matches feels a reasonable return, particularly given their opponents in August, but Wolves, who last tasted a league victory in April, remain in the relegation zone. Towards the end of this stalemate the agitated away support chanted for Lage to make further substitutions.

Wolves’ problems are plain – they have scored two league goals this season – but Lage wants supporters to stick with him and his players after a summer of change. He has revamped his squad and formation and insists there are positives signs for Wolves, who host Southampton on Saturday.

“The way we are creating so many chances, they [the fans] should be frustrated like I am but confident with the future,” Lage said. “I believe the way we are playing that the goals will come. We are working so hard to build this squad. It is a question of patience and time. I believe a lot in our work. We have not started so good but I think we are going to finish in a good position this year.”

Bruno Lage saw his Wolves side booed by their own fans.
Bruno Lage saw his Wolves side booed by their own fans. Wolves have taken three points from their first five games of the season. Photograph: Robin Jones/AFC Bournemouth/Getty Images

The 9-0 evisceration at Liverpool on Saturday was Parker’s last game in charge, his post-match comments in which he again said his squad was ill-equipped to cope with the step up in class – and suggested more heavy defeats were in the offing – proving the final straw in an increasingly strained relationship with the hierarchy. In the end it was the club who blinked first, as Parker’s veiled messages grew less and less subtle.

If Parker felt set up to fail, then his sacking presented the interim head coach Gary O’Neil, who joined the club in February last year as a first‑team coach under Jonathan Woodgate, with something of a hospital pass.

O’Neil led the team alongside Under-21s manager Shaun Cooper and his assistant Tommy Elphick, who captained Bournemouth to promotion to the Premier League in 2015.

“It moved pretty quick,” O’Neil said. “I haven’t really had time to breathe or assess where we are but what I asked the boys to do they produced in commitment, bravery and togetherness in a tough moment. We’ll look to improve but as a starting point from where we’ve been it is a real positive for us.”

Lage cut a frustrated figure throughout, the fourth official, Tim Robinson, reminding Lage of the parameters of his technical area as the Wolves head coach frantically waved his players upfield.

Nunes came closest to scoring after reading Pedro Neto’s layoff and Jiménez forced the Bournemouth goalkeeper Neto, one of four changes from Anfield, into a fingertip save after meeting a Nélson Semedo cross. Bournemouth had the occasional burst forward through the lively Marcus Tavernier, a summer signing from Middlesbrough, but Wolves dominated.

Bournemouth began the second half brightly and seemed to stifle Wolves’ early enthusiasm. Dominic Solanke put a header on target and soon after O’Neil bent down on his knees as another chance went begging. With less than an hour gone Rúben Neves, even if he is capable of the spectacular, resorted to taking aim from just past halfway when he had time on his hands. Neto screwed a shot against the side-netting and Gonçalo Guedes pulled a shot wide. Soon after the away support made their voices heard, Lage introduced Adama Traoré and Podence from the bench.

Then Jiménez made a mess of his big chance.



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