sport

Morgan defends Wolves decisions

Wolves chairman Steve Morgan does not believe hiring Stale Solbakken was a gamble - and does not see appointing Dean Saunders as one either.

Saunders, who departs League One side Doncaster, was unveiled to the media at Molineux on Monday afternoon following a whirlwind 36 hours for the Black Country club after Solbakken was sacked on Saturday evening.

The embarrassing FA Cup third-round exit at non-league Luton proved the final straw for Wolves' hierarchy, following a dreadful festive period containing three successive defeats which had left Wanderers 18th in the Championship and with just three wins from their last 16 league games.

Solbakken only took charge in the summer and arrived in England relatively unknown, despite a short stint as a player at Wimbledon in 1997/98 and an established international career with Norway before spells in management with the likes of Copenhagen and Koln.

Following his sacking and Saunders' appointment, Morgan said: "Performances have fallen well below the standards we expect at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

"I didn't think appointing Stale was a gamble. It was out of the box. I think Dean is a very different character.

"The mistake, in hindsight, was a culture difference. Dean has played across British and European football. He knows a lot of the players already. He's a hard-working bloke.

"If you listen to Dean, then his football philosophy isn't rocket science. He asks the players to work hard. He's a hard-working guy and asks his players to do that."

Wanderers sold the likes of Steven Fletcher, Matt Jarvis and Michael Kightly in the summer following relegation from the Premier League last season, although Solbakken was allowed to reinforce his ranks.

It cannot be doubted that his efforts were thwarted by an horrendous injury list, with more than 10 players in the treatment room of late.

Asked whether he should have been given more time, Solbakken this morning simply told Sky Sports News: "Yes.

"It's the name of the game. I am not a bitter person but obviously I think it was the wrong decision, but I sincerely hope Wolves can climb the table and they will be successful."

Saunders arrives at Molineux as Wolves' fourth boss in less than a year after the dismissal of Mick McCarthy last February and the brief tenure of Terry Connor.

The former Wales striker gained coaching experience at Blackburn and Newcastle while he was also assistant manager to John Toshack in the international set-up for three years.

He began his management career with Wrexham in 2008 before taking over at Doncaster in September 2011 and although he was unable to prevent relegation from the Championship, he departs the Keepmoat Stadium with Rovers currently joint top of League One.

The 48-year-old wasted little time in the Wanderers hot seat having taken charge of training for the first time today ahead of Friday night's home clash against managerless Blackburn.

"I'm really proud to be manager of the club," Saunders said. "I'm a bit disappointed to be leaving some of the players behind (at Doncaster). I persuaded 13 of them to sign for me during the summer.

"I'm determined, I'm ambitious. I want to get back into the Premier League, that's the brief.

"There's no reason why the team cannot climb up the league.

"Looking at the league table, we are up against it, where we are. But three results and it's completely different.

"If you do that, you will be up there. We're nine points off where we want to be. The players have to stop feeling sorry for themselves and work."