David Moyes walked towards the West Ham end at full time, applauding the fans who had made the 300-mile, six-hour round trip to Molineux to witness another deflating defeat.
All he received in return were V-signs, eff offs, and a few other insults which, as you can imagine, cannot be printed here. That is how the supporters feel after a seventh successive outing without a win left their team in the Premier League’s bottom three.
But it is how West Ham’s co-owner David Sullivan feels which matters most to the 59-year-old manager and all Moyes can do now is wait.
Daniel Podence’s strike was enough for Wolves to claim victory against West Ham at Molineux
Pressure continues to increase on David Moyes’s side, who are still in the relegation zone
Wait and see if that dreaded call comes. Wait and see if he is summoned to a Sunday meeting with Sullivan. Wait and see if he is taking training on Monday.
‘When you’re in this industry, you’ve got to win games and I’m not winning enough games,’ Moyes said in a candid post-match press conference. ‘I’m not stupid.
‘I would never look at myself and say, ‘I’ve got credit in the bank’. I know you have to earn the right to be in football management. To manage in this league is a big, big thing.
‘Lots of people are after jobs in this league. I’m not daft. That’s football management for you.’
Moyes also called on the fans not to turn on their team. Not when they have Everton at home next. Should West Ham lose that game, the London Stadium will turn into a cauldron of negativity.
In contrast to Moyes, Wolves manager Julen Lopetegui heard fans sing his name at full time
West Ham defender Craig Dawson was left out the side due to being subject to a recent bid from Wolves
This is in stark contrast to the positive vibes at Molineux, where Wolves’ winner came from a West Ham corner. Julen Lopetegui’s team flew from back to front in a flash, Daniel Podence applying the finishing touch to secure this 1-0 win at Molineux.
Lopetegui jumped for joy at full time and rightly so. In his limited time in charge of Wolves, he’s led them out of the Premier League’s bottom three, revitalised a struggling squad and reunited the fanbase, who sang his name.
As Podence said with a smile afterwards: ‘He (Lopetegui) was a very good signing.’
There was no Craig Dawson for West Ham. Not because of injury. Nor illness. Dawson’s absence was owing to a bid from another club, and that club happened to be Wolves.
Moyes described the timing as ‘destabilising’ and in his mind, there was no way West Ham could use Dawson against the team that may soon sign him. That was a blow, given the 32-year-old central defender had started their last six Premier League games.
Ruben Neves controlled proceedings for the home side at Molineux on Saturday afternoon
Instead it was over to Angelo Ogbonna and Nayef Aguerd to stop Wolves, whose new signing, Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid, made his home debut. Within minutes, the Brazil forward was ordering the fans to make more noise.
With Wolves dominating the ball, and Ruben Neves pinging passes for fun, West Ham’s fans were frustrated. ‘Oh Said Benrahma,’ they sang about the man they wanted to see start. The forward, the best of a poorly-performing bunch this season, was warming the bench.
West Ham came closest to opening the scoring before half time when Lucas Paqueta’s cross was headed on by Tomas Soucek. The ball fell to Coufal. He had a long time to think about where to place his shot. Perhaps too long, as his poor attempt was blocked by Hugo Bueno.
Wolves finished the first half as they started it – on top. Their only issue was the lack of clear-cut chances being created as Neves’s umpteenth attempt from distance was blocked.
Yet Wolves took the lead after 47 minutes and it came from a West Ham corner.
West Ham fans chanted for the introduction of Said Benrahma, who was eventually brought on
Wolves scrambled the cross clear and Nelson Semedo was away, breaking forward at speed. He passed to Matheus Nunes, whose cross was deflected by Aaron Cresswell.
Luckily for Nunes, the ball fell into the path of Podence. Coufal tried to get up to block but couldn’t. Podence blasted his shot beyond Lukasz Fabianski and it was 1-0.
‘Oh Said Benrahma,’ sang West Ham’s supporters. Again. This time Moyes listened as Soucek was replaced by Benrahma.
In the 75th minute, Wolves thought they had scored again. First, Neves’s curler crashed off the underside of the crossbar. Then, Rayan Ait-Nouri’s rebound smacked the right-hand post. Then, Neves blasted over. The Wolves fans’ gasps got louder with each miss. Close, but no cigar.
West Ham desperately went in search of a late leveller but it never arrived. After another defeat, Moyes can only hope he gets one last chance to redeem himself against Everton next week.
Podence was mobbed by his team-mates at full time after scoring the winner in the match
The goal was his fifth of the season as Wolves continued their fine form since the break
Wolves (4-3-3): Sa 7; Semedo 7, Collins 7, Kilman 7, Bueno 7 (Toti 83); Nunes 7, Neves 7.5, Moutinho 7 (Lemina 73, 6); Hwang 7 (Traore 73, 6), Cunha 7.5 (Jimenez 64, 6), Podence 8 (Ait-Nouri 64, 6)
Subs (not used): Sarkic, Jonny, Hodge, Campbell
Scorer: Podence (48)
Manager: Julen Lopetegui 7
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski 6; Coufal 5.5, Ogbonna 5.5, Aguerd 6, Cresswell 5.5; Rice 6, Soucek 5.5 (Benrahma 60, 6); Bowen 5, Paqueta 5, Fornals 5; Antonio 5 (Scamacca 76)
Subs (not used): Randolph, Johnson, Zouma, Lanzini, Downes, Kehrer, Emerson
Booked: Aguerd, Rice
Manager: David Moyes 5
Referee: Simon Hooper 6