So much to take from games against the big three

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Just as it seemed Wolves were starting to let things slip, they have managed to find some real form against the big guns in the Premier League.

Although they have only managed to secure three points from their games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, the manner in which they have carried themselves through a difficult period speaks volumes for the squad and the manager.

Had the players capitulated at Stamford Bridge, who is to say they would have been able to turn over a strong City side at Molineux? If they lose badly to City it would have been easy to see United bagging three or four in a one-sided rout. Then what next? Relegation would have felt a certainty.

Of course, the disappointment is that Wolves seemed unable to turn in these kinds of performances against the sides it really matters about. West Ham should have been beaten at Molineux but weren't; Fulham came from behind to snatch all three points and Wigan turned Wolves over too easily at The DW.

At the weekend, Mick McCarthy found himself in an odd position; the position of genuine annoyance at a loss at Old Trafford. A loss that we all know really should have been avoided. Most managers would go there and, as long as they weren't completely humiliated, be happy that the game was out of the way.

But Wolves knew from the moment the game kicked off that they were up against an out-of-sorts United side that, even in front of their own fans, didn't seem up for the challenge. They came so close to a point that would have been more than justified but were denied at the death. Plenty of promise though....

....and so much room for optimism as Mick McCarthy and his players enter the crucial Christmas period. Points are there for the taking and it is clear to me that McCarthy now has his team in the right mindset to take more points than expected.

People talk about confidence all the time; whether it's in relation to a player or a team, it makes no difference. Confidence has seen teams relegated and other teams crowned champions; it's changed heroes into villains and vice-versa.

With the way his side are playing at the moment, and with the all important Jody Craddock still to return from injury, Wolves will believe they can beat anyone - home or away. The performance at United proved this. Yes, Sir Alex's side were lacklustre, but they still possess the kind of class that can embarrass sides. Wolves fully deserved a point from that game; concentration, again, denied them that.

Wolves' spirited displays over the last few games will stand them in perfect stead for what lies ahead, and who knows? By Christmas, everything could have changed for McCarthy and his squad.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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