Wolves 3-0 Norwich: Diogo Jota bags a brace and Raul Jimenez adds a third as hosts march towards European qualification with convincing win over doomed Canaries
- Wolves forward Diogo Jota gave the hosts the lead at Molineux on Sunday
- Jota added a second for his side in the 30th minute against Norwich at Molineux
- Raul Jimenez scored a third for Wolves as he volleyed the ball into the empty net
- The win for Wolves moved them to within two points of Manchester United
He was on the field for just 63 minutes but in that time Diogo Jota showed once again why he is emerging as one of the country’s most lethal strikers as Wolves gathered further momentum and Norwich endured more misery.
For Nuno Espirito Santo and his men the signs are only positive. For Norwich manager Daniel Farke and his players, the Championship beckons.
And Jota did their prospects of survival no good at all. Last Thursday, he destroyed Espanyol of Spain in the Europa League with a hat trick in a 4-0 win that should ensure a place for Wolves in the last 16 of the competition.
Raul Jimenez adds a third for Wolves as he volleys the ball into the empty net past Tim Krul
Wolves forward Jimenez puts the ball under his shirt and kisses it to celebrate the goal
Norwich strikers Teemu Pukki and Josip Drmic look dejected with relegation looming large
He added two more on Sunday and played a significant part in the third as Norwich were left stranded on 18 points at the foot of the table. Their only consolation from a miserable afternoon was that Watford lost at Old Trafford.
No ground lost in the dogfight but that was as good as it got. This was a cameo of Norwich’s season. Easy to watch, a Farke philosophy that encourages attacking football – but once again, nothing to show for it.
As they found out once again, it is points that count, not plaudits.
Espirito Santo is not exactly negative. Hard to do that with the likes of Jota, Ruben Neves and Jonny in the line-up – with Adama Traore to summon from the bench.
But the man of the moment is Jota. At 23, the best is yet to come. And at £12 million, he looks the definitive bargain after coming to Molineux from Atletico Madrid.
Wolves forward Diogo Jota adds a second for his side as the hosts were rampant on Sunday
Jota picks the ball out of the net having scored his second of the game at Molineux
Wolves forward Diogo Jota gives the hosts the lead at Molineux on Sunday afternoon
Jota celebrates with his Wolves team-mates having given his side the lead against Norwich
He has had his lean spells but as Espirito Santo said: ‘He has never lost his confidence. He is always confident. And of course I was delighted with his goals.’ That was clear on Sunday. Not only did Jota score twice but he also played a major part in the third goal that effectively ended the Norwich challenge.
‘We know a player’s performance can go up and down. It is the right decisions, the right solutions we try to find to keep sustaining his performance.’
Jota had scored the first in the 19th minute from just inside the area with a pass that came courtesy of the midriff of Matt Doherty. On the half hour, Romain Saiss returned a cross into the six yard box and there was Jota.
A man who can score from 20 yards is not going to miss from one.
In the 50th minute, Jota’s work was complete. His crisp shot beat Tim Krul in the Norwich goal but not the upright. But as the ball broke clear, there was Raul Jimenez with a simple chance. Game over.
‘Norwich started well but I thought we managed the game well after that,’ said Espirito Santo who was equally pleased with the fourth clean sheet in a row. ‘Everything starts from there,’ he said. ‘They did not have many chances.’
Wolves striker Jimenez grabs the post after missing a chance during the first half on Sunday
Wolves midfielder Jota looks to pass to a team-mate in the early exchanges on Sunday
Norwich striker Pukki attempts a shot on goal under pressure from Romain Saiss
The Wolves manager has never complained about the fixture glut confronting his team in a season that started last July with the Europa League. Sunday was match number 44. Last season Wolves played 46 in total. How do his players do it ? ‘The way they recover, the way they respect themselves.’
The manager and his staff at Wolves don’t do ‘days off’. ‘It is our job and we embrace the challenge.’
Farke had no issue with the attitude of his players. And he remains positive about the hurdles ahead. ‘The story of our season? I am far away from closing the book this season,’ he said with a hint of defiance. ‘But we lacked physicality today.
‘This was an opportunity for us today, a big opportunity. But you have to sense this is a big chance. But sometimes we were a bit soft and a bit scared.’
Wolves full back Matt Doherty tries to fend off Norwich left-back Jamal Lewis in the first half
Grant Hanley attempts to take charge of the situation under pressure from Jimenez