Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Gary O’Neil bizarrely claimed that he felt his side deserved to emerge triumphant from their 1-1 draw at Kenilworth Road yesterday. The visitors were on the back foot for almost all of the first half in which they were reduced to 10 men following Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s red card, as Luton dominated proceedings, going closest when Carlton Morris’s 20-yard rasping drive smacked against the post. Town then fell behind early in the second period, Neto breaking away to score a fine individual goal, as home stopper Thomas Kaminski made an important double save, but following that the Luton keeper wasn’t unduly tested.
Hatters also won 10 corners to one from Wolves, having 55 percent of possession, but despite that,
Gary O’Neil said: “I’m extremely disappointed with the first 20, 25 minutes, but we knew today would be a test of mentality and being ready to go. Luton were aggressive, went man for man and we lost every duel. Every time it went into our forward players, it bounced off them, every time it went into theirs, it stuck. When it dropped into midfield they were faster to it, so I’m extremely disappointed with the first 20, 25 minutes, so much so that we had to change shape and try and get a foothold, which I thought we did. We saw off that terrible spell and managed to make the game slightly more even. We suffer a crazy moment from Jean and from that moment it’s going to be a tough hour or so. I asked a big question from the players at half time and they managed to produce second half to be fair. To come from the first 20 minutes, and lose a man, to respond the way they did and fight the way they did to the very end and deserve to win the game was a big effort from them.”
One thing O’Neil didn’t really have any complaints with was the decision to send off Bellegarde late in the first period, the French defender dismissed for kicking out at Luton skipper Tom Lockyer.
Gary O Neil added: “I only saw it back on the iPad when they were doing the check. It looked like there was a coming together and it looked like a kick out a little bit. I’ll watch it back to have a clearer look at it but if he has kicked out I can understand the red card. Jean is very disappointed about it, he apologised to the group, apologised to me, it’s just something we can’t have. I spoke a lot about trying to fix some of the craziness within the group and that’s an extreme version of it. You can’t be successful in football matches if someone does that. The fact we leave with a point after that, is one hell of an effort from everyone, but more often than not it someone does something like you’re going to walk away with no points, which we can’t afford to do.”