Late goals from Ivan Cavaleiro and Jonny Otto earned a hard-fought 2-0 win over the Saints at Molineux.
Cavaleiro was on the pitch for just 94 seconds before he scored with his first touch with 11 minutes left and Jonny added a second three minutes from time.
It was harsh on Southampton, who competed well in an even game, and Nuno conceded Wolves – who are now eighth having lost just once – may have been fortunate.
Wolverhampton 2-0 Southampton: Saints slump to another loss at hands of Wolves
He said: In the end, if we deserve it or not, you never know. If you ask if we deserve it or not, I would say yes. Probably Mark Hughes would say no, but this is the game, this is sport, this is football.
Even when you are not having the ball you have to stay consistent, organised and thats what keeps you in the game.
You have to score and after the first goal we had the game controlled and managed well and we arrived at the second goal.
The Saints bossed possession in the second half and Rui Patricio denied Stuart Armstrong and gathered Jannick Vestergaards free-kick at the second attempt.
Boss Mark Hughes admitted the visitors were frustrated and defender Vestergaard said the Saints sob stories cannot continue having won just once this season.
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 29: Jonny Otto of Wolverhampton Wanderers (c) celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Matt Doherty as Wesley Hoedt of Southampton stands dejected during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton FC at Molineux on September 29, 2018 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Mark Hughes made three changes to the side that lost 0-3 to Liverpool a week ago, choosing to pair Danny Ings and Charlie Austin in front of a 4-4-2.
The first five minutes were tentative moments, as both teams attempted to figure out how to attack their opposition. However, the competition opened up quickly with Wolves creating a number of early opportunities, fortunately for Saints, many of them breaking down in the Wolves attacking third.
Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was forced into his first save in the 10th minute following a Southampton midfield mistake, a theme that would be consistent throughout the contest. Jan Vestergaard escaped three early fouls and avoided a yellow card, but they were early evidence of a Saints defense that is struggling mightily to keep clean sheets.
The first half was marked by a barrage of set pieces from Wolves, however, unsuccessful by Premier League standards. Although, it was Southampton who proved to be even more wasteful, especially on attacking corner kicks which routinely and predictably search for Vestergaard’s head.
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 29: Nuno Espirito Santo, Manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers acknowledges the fans following the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton FC at Molineux on September 29, 2018 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Southampton’s first real chance came in the 28th minute as Mohamed Elyounoussi was picked out smartly by Nathan Redmond, the catalyst of Saints’ attack. Elyounoussi was met by a good save from Rui Patricio from six yards out, but it sparked a positive run of play for the red and white stripes.
Before the end of the first half, a chance went each direction, but Southampton nearly gave the lead away in the 39th minute as Wesley Hoedt failed to clear his line. The Dutch centre-back, who has been under significant criticism from fans of late, again appeared to lack confidence in one-v-one scenarios and is struggling to create a sound partnership with Jan Vestergaard.
The halftime whistle came without stoppage time as both teams headed to the dressing room at nil-nil.
It was a slow start to the second half, highlighted only by yellow cards shown to Saints’ captain Ryan Bertrand and Wolves Diogo Jota just one minute apart.
The first bit of excitement came in the 63rd minute as a stream of strong Southampton play resulted in Danny Ings best chance to score. He turned quickly on a ball from 8 yards out as Nathan Redmond neatly found his feet, but the shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Stuart Armstrong replaced Elyounoussi as the first Saints’ substitute in the 71st minute. He was quickly followed by Manolo Gabbiadini in a switch for Charlie Austin who had little to show in his 76 minutes on the pitch. However, it would be the two Wolverhampton substitutes that would make the difference during the first goal of the game.
Moments away from kick-off here. #SaintsFC team in a huddle in front of a packed away section. pic.twitter.com/a9p1J8P21Q
Adama Traore broke with pace and found himself one-v-one with Hoedt on the edge of the penalty box and beat his man with a low cross to Raui Jimenez who out-muscled Vestergaard to his position on the six yard mark. Jimenez neatly dropped the ball back in the path of Ivan Cavaleiro, who had just stepped on the pitch, and hammered the Wolves into a lead.
From then on Southampton looked visually shaken, and were doomed by a lack of leadership and team unity. Nathan Redmond was seen arguing with Mario Lemina and Cedric Soares during key moments in the game. More importantly was the negative body language after concession and the inability to fight back.
An 83rd minute save by McCarthy may have been the highlight of the game. A header from Jiminez off a Wolves set piece was denied the top corner beautifully by the Saints’ goalkeeper.
It would be only 4 minutes later that Wolves would secure the victory with Southampton on the back foot. The 87th minute goal by Jonathan Castro Otto epitomized the Saints lack of fight, belief, and desire in the final minutes of games.
A Manolo Gabbiadini shot in stoppage time would be the last moment of hope for any consolation. With the loss, Southampton now sit just three points above the relegation zone with seven games played.
Mark Hughes continues to speak of a work in progress, but what progress is being shown? A third consecutive away trip to Everton is in the cards Tuesday night in the Carabao Cup, and it appears to be a great opportunity to make some changes, primarily in a back four that is struggling to keep up with the pace of the Premier League.
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