Nuno delight as Wolves surpass points tally and set up Europa League shootout with Spurs
A 2-0 victory over a woefully out-of-form Crystal Palace takes Wolves back up to sixth in the Premier League
Wolves ensured the fight to secure Europa League football will go down to the final game of the Premier League season following a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Monday.
Victory at Molineux came courtesy of goals from Daniel Podence, his first in the Premier League, shortly before half time, and Jonny's fine finish with around 20 minutes remaining.
Roy Hodgson's Palace and stumbling over the finish line and were missing five regular starters before being dealt a further blow when centre-back Mamadou Sakho went off in the first half with a hamstring injury.
Palace offered precious little in the second half as they slumped to a seventh successive defeat.
Wolves moved above Tottenham Hotspur into sixth spot - a guaranteed Europa League qualification place - with 59 points ahead of their final league game away to Chelsea on Sunday.
Palace are 14th.
"The idea of improvement and the building process makes sense and today we achieved two more points than last season with one game to go," Nuno said.
"Sunday's game is very difficult but let's prepare well and compete."
Palace should have taken the lead following a slip by Wolves defender Willy Boly but Jeffrey Schlupp dragged his shot wide.
The opening goal owed much to the vision and guile of Joao Moutinho. The Portuguese midfielder dinked a delightful pass to pick out the run of Matt Doherty, who in turn delicately knocked the ball across the face of goal for Podence to head home from close range.
Dangerman Adama Traore had been reasonably well-contained by a Palace defence featuring youngster Tyrick Mitchell who was handed his first league start.
But Traore produced a lightning burst of pace to set up Wolves's second, muscling past two defenders before pulling the ball back for Jonny who took a touch before spinning and angling a shot past Palace keeper Vicente Guaita.
It proved another tough night for Palace manager Roy Hodgson who will be desperate to end the losing sequence when his side host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
"I thought it was a sterling effort from the players to keep going but it is a bit of a Groundhog Day situation for us," he said. "I think we are doing the best with the players we have.
"An awful lot of things have not gone our way during this period of bad results but we have to face up to it and then in the summer find the players to reinforce us."
Published: July 21, 2020 08:13 AM