Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said Tottenham went down with “the flag held high” in their 4-1 loss to Chelsea and has backed the squad to cope with the absence of key personnel.

Spurs lost their unbeaten start to the Premier League season in a pulsating London derby in which five goals were disallowed and the hosts played the final 35 minutes with nine men.

To add salt into fresh Tottenham wounds, Micky van de Ven was forced off with a hamstring injury and James Maddison had to be withdrawn due to an ankle knock, while Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie, who were both sent off, will sit out this weekend’s trip to Wolves.

Ange Postecoglou’s side battled admirably, first with 10 men from the 35th minute and then when down to nine early in the second half, but Nicolas Jackson grabbed the first of his three goals with quarter of an hour left to finally break the hosts’ resolve.

Hojbjerg said: “I think we went down with the flag held high. We gave it our all but the result hurts a lot.

“We showed what we had in our hearts but the result hurts.

“Tuesday we have a day off and when we see each other on Wednesday, we’ll gather the pieces and focus on the next game, as we have to.

“Everyone has to show their availability and show they are prepared to do what it takes.

“A good squad is not 11 players. It is 18 or 25 players and this is what we have to show. The result hurts a lot but we have to keep going.”

Mauricio Pochettino’s first return to Tottenham had initially started in the worst possible fashion when Dejan Kulusevski’s curled effort deflected off Levi Colwill and beyond the helpless Robert Sanchez after six minutes.

The wheels started to fall off during a 57-minute first half where four goals were chalked off by video assistant referee John Brooks at Stockley Park, who decided that Romero’s tackle on Enzo Fernandez was worthy of a red card and a penalty in the 33rd minute.

Spurs’ uphill task increased further when Udogie was shown a second yellow after 10 minutes of the second period, but Postecoglou deployed a high line and Guglielmo Vicario starred in the sweeper-keeper role before Jackson made it 2-1.

Tottenham remained resolute and started to create chances with substitute Eric Dier marginally offside when he volleyed home soon after Jackson’s first goal before Rodrigo Bentancur and Son Heung-min squandered opportunities.

 

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Jackson made the points safe in stoppage time when he lashed in from Conor Gallagher’s pass, but Spurs supporters greeted the goal with a standing ovation for their crestfallen players.

Kulusevski said: “It was unbelievable, honestly. Some things are bigger than life, bigger than football, bigger than the wins.

“Honestly I was really proud of that moment and the fans. I was grateful and it makes me want to give more back.

“It has to give us fuel. We lost the game, we hate to lose, it was the first of the season, but we have to make sure this doesn’t happen again and play 11 v 11 because then it is much harder to beat us.”

The consequences of this defeat could be long-lasting with Romero set for a three-match ban, which will rule him out of matches with Wolves, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

Of bigger concern is centre-back partner Van de Ven after he pulled up at the end of the first half in a sprint with Jackson, which saw him helped off the pitch and he was later seen on crutches.

Udogie will also miss Saturday’s clash at Wolves and with Ben Davies nursing an ankle knock, Postecoglou could use Under-21 defenders Ash Phillips or Alfie Dorrington this weekend.

“It will be a test for sure. They (Van de Ven and Maddison) are amazing players and I hope they are back very, very soon, but as you saw the players that came in were amazing,” Kulusevski said.

“We train really hard every day and everybody is ready. You saw Eric Dier, he came in, did his first appearance and was unbelievable. The guys are ready.

“Everybody wants to play and it is so high level the training. So, if (Phillips) will be called, he will be ready.”

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom joked he would be in prison if his side had not been awarded a last-gasp penalty which helped them finally break their Premier League duck with a 2-1 victory over Wolves.

The Blades won at the 11th attempt when Oliver Norwood smashed home from 12 yards in the 10th minute of time added on after Fabio Silva fouled George Baldock, a decision which Wolves boss Gary O’Neil described as “absolutely crazy”.

It provided a moment of relief for the hosts after Cameron Archer’s excellent opener had been cancelled out by Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s deflected effort in the 89th minute as their campaign finally kickstarted.

Heckingbottom said: “I don’t think you’d have seen me if we hadn’t been given that penalty, I might be in prison somewhere.

“I have not seen it but the people who have seen have said because there was no contact there was no way it was going to be overturned. It’s one of those where the ref makes the call and there is not enough to overturn the decision.

“The dramatic nature of it makes victory feel even sweeter but it would have been harsh had we not won, especially after the way we performed in the second half.

“It’s a tough, tough league and there are going to be games where we are not in them, where the opposition take it away from us.

“It’s not a walk in the park this league but I thought we were dominant in the second half and for me deserved the win.

“We managed the game really well, it’s a big win, a big three points. A good performance.”

It was the second week in a row where Wolves felt they were on the wrong end of a penalty decision after a controversial incident in last weekend’s draw with Newcastle.

Boss O’Neil watched the incident again after the match with referee Rob Jones, who stood by his decision.

“It is not a penalty, hardly any contact. It is a tough one to discuss, it is another terrible decision,” O’Neil moaned.

“I don’t understand why he feels the need to give it, pause, take your time, it’s not about you. If you have made a clear and obvious error there, VAR will tell you after.

“I’ve been in with him, and he still thinks it’s a penalty, he still says there is contact. The only contact I can see is maybe Fabio’s shinpad with Baldock’s calf, like a graze.

“Baldock is already on his way down. I am sitting there watching it with him and he still says it is a penalty which tells me we are in a pretty bad spot because that is never, ever a penalty.

“If you give a foul for that contact there would be one million fouls in the 90 minutes. Because of the wording we use VAR can’t intervene because it is not deemed clear and obvious. Craziness.

“I don’t expect anything, we didn’t get an apology last week and apologies don’t help me. We are six points down maybe from refereeing decisions.

“I have said a million times we need to be better so decision’s don’t affect us as much but the facts are they have had a big impact on our points total.

“A big impact on where we are in the league, the feel of the place, has an impact on how well I am deemed to have done as a new manager arriving at Wolves, 12 points is a big difference to 18.

“To sit and have a conversation with the referee and him still think that is a penalty is absolutely crazy. I am worried about it at the minute, they are in a bad spot and it seems to be going against us.”

Oliver Norwood’s penalty with the last kick of the game finally gave Sheffield United their first win of the Premier League season as they beat Wolves 2-1 at Bramall Lane.

The skipper smashed home from 12 yards after Fabio Silva fouled George Baldock in the seventh minute of time added on as the Blades broke their duck at the 11th attempt.

It had looked like they would have to settle for a point as Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s 89th-minute strike had cancelled out Cameron Archer’s impressive opener.

But this was just the tonic Paul Heckingbottom needed after a harrowing start to the campaign on their return to the top tier and they are now just two points off safety after Burnley and Bournemouth lost again.

There was more penalty woe for Wolves, following on from last week’s controversy against Newcastle, but their five-match unbeaten streak came to an end.

The sodden conditions made for a chaotic opening, where Wolves looked the most likely as they regularly found space down their right-hand side.

Matheus Cunha burst forward in the opening five minutes but his dangerous cross avoided everyone while Nelson Semedo blasted over after he made headway.

Hee-Chan Hwang looked dangerous and forced Wes Foderingham into a flying save before the South Korean was involved in the best opening of the first half in the 32nd minute.

He wriggled clear in the box and looked primed to score but skewed his shot straight into the path of Rayan Ait-Nouri, who could not turn the ball goalwards.

Sheffield United improved immeasurably after the break and boxed Wolves in for the first 20 minutes.

Archer sent an effort just over from 20 yards while James McAtee failed to work Jose Sa from a free-kick in a dangerous area.

Just as it looked as if Wolves had weathered the storm, the Blades went ahead in the 72nd minute with a moment of quality.

There was some fortune in how it came about as a clearance from Cunha hit McAtee and sent Archer clear but from then on it was all about the former Aston Villa striker.

As it looked like he might be caught by the chasing Wolves defenders, Archer unleased a 25-yard shot that arrowed in off the underside of the crossbar.

But the Blades appeared to suffer more disappointment in the 89th minute when Bellegarde’s effort deflected off Baldock and over Foderingham, who got a hand to it.

There was late drama as Silva went through the back of Baldock deep into time added on and after the decision by referee Rob Jones survived a vigorous VAR check, Norwood smashed the spot-kick in off the crossbar to send Bramall Lane into raptures.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil called the decision to award Newcastle a first-half penalty in their 2-2 draw at Molineux “scandalous”.

O’Neil was delighted by the way his players battled back, twice coming from a goal down to earn an impressive point through Hwang Hee-chan’s equaliser, but Wolves were once again left fuming at the officials on a busy afternoon for referee Anthony Taylor and VAR Jarred Gillett.

The game was at 1-1, with Mario Lemina’s first Wolves goal cancelling out Callum Wilson’s opener, when Taylor pointed to the spot on the stroke of half-time.

Hwang had been guilty of a heavy touch inside his own box, inviting Fabian Schar to challenge for the ball, but the Newcastle man appeared to kick the turf and looked to already be on his way down before any contact.

There was a lengthy VAR check but the on-field decision stood, and Wilson kept his cool to put Newcastle back in front.

“It was a scandalous decision,” O’Neil said. “It was a terrible on-field decision, and terrible that VAR didn’t intervene so I thought they got it badly wrong.

“(Hwang) has a big touch…and then goes to clear the ball. He makes such minimal contact with Schar, hardly any, a glance of the boot.

“Schar’s is already on the way down and the ball actually hits ‘Channy’ on the other foot before he even makes contact with Schar so technically he gets the ball before he makes contact with Schar, so that’s why it’s a terrible decision.”

Wolves seemed to use their sense of injustice as fuel in the second half, and it was fitting that Hwang got the equaliser with his seventh goal of the season.

“There’s never any question marks from me on his mentality, his willingness to work, his ability to refocus and get going again,” O’Neil said of the Korean.

“Obviously he’s a threat, obviously his goalscoring this season for us has been a big plus and he gets another important one today.”

The draw extends Wolves’ unbeaten run to five games, and O’Neil said: “I’m really pleased with the group. We suffered some setbacks and I think everyone could be proud of their work-rate, the quality and the resilience.”

Eddie Howe was frustrated that Newcastle, playing for the first time since Sandro Tonali started a 10-month ban for betting offences, could not hold on for a win having twice led, but was happy with how they finished the match despite fatigue creeping in after Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

“It was probably a fair result,” he said. “Two good teams. It was a really good spectacle. It’s frustrating having led not to get over the line and win the game but it was a really impressive end when the home crowd is up.

“We’ve had a tough week with the Sandro situation and injuries to key players but it was a really good response.”

Wilson’s brace, including an acrobatic opener to tidy up his own rebound, took him to seven goals from nine appearances, encouraging news for Howe with Alexander Isak facing a spell on the sidelines.

“It was a massive contribution from Callum,” Howe said. “His first goal was hugely impressive, the first chance was the easier than the second but that’s typical Callum.

“He took the penalty well and was probably frustrated he didn’t get the match ball with a chance at the end, but they were priceless goals for us.”

Hwang Hee-chan’s seventh goal of the season earned Wolves a point as they twice came from behind in a 2-2 draw at home against Newcastle.

Callum Wilson scored a first-half brace for the visitors, including a controversial penalty, to move on to seven goals from just nine Premier League appearances but it was not enough against a determined Wolves side who seemed to take inspiration from a sense of injustice in a feisty second half.

Wilson, starting in place of the injured Alexander Isak, acrobatically capitalised on a Jose Sa error to put Newcastle in front 22 minutes in but Mario Lemina, back in the Wolves side after suspension, headed the hosts level with his first goal in old gold 14 minutes later.

Wolves then fumed when Anthony Taylor pointed to the post on the stroke of half-time, with minimal apparent contact when Hwang was guilty of a loose touch in his own box and Fabian Schar went down as he stepped in to take possession.

Wilson kept his cool through a lengthy VAR check and ignored the jeers to put Newcastle back in front despite Sa getting a strong hand to the spot-kick, but Hwang would make amends in the 71st minute with an equaliser that extends Wolves’ unbeaten run to five.

Newcastle made the trip south coming off a 1-0 Champions League home defeat to Borussia Dortmund and still reeling from the loss of Sandro Tonali, serving the first game of a 10-month ban for betting offences.

They were inches away from an early opener when Joelinton dropped deep to receive Kieran Trippier’s pass and feed Sean Longstaff who hesitated on a cross and instead slipped a low shot narrowly wide.

But Wolves, who had won only two of their previous 16 Premier League matches against the Magpies, were applying pressure of their own with some confident play, yet struggling to test Nick Pope.

It was almost against the run of play that Wilson put Newcastle in front in the 22nd minute. Sa came but failed to collect Anthony Gordon’s cross, colliding with Boubacar Traore, and though Wilson’s first shot was blocked by Toti the ball bounced up and Wilson turned it home.

Wolves responded well, with Cunha twice denied before Pedro Neto cut inside and forced Pope to push his shot over. The hosts levelled from the resulting corner as Lemina got the right side of Trippier at the far post to head in Neto’s delivery.

But Newcastle were awarded a contentious penalty on the stroke of half-time, with Schar appearing to kick the turf as he tumbled over when challenging Hwang.

Contact looked minimal and there was a lengthy check from VAR Jarred Gillett before Taylor’s decision was upheld and Wilson restored Newcastle’s lead.

Wolves were screaming for a spot-kick of their own in first-half stoppage time after Pope came out of his box and failed to gather, but there was only the slightest graze of the ball against the fingers of Bruno Guimaraes as he challenged Cunha.

Wolverhampton blood pressures continued to rise early in the second half as a string of decisions went Newcastle’s way and the game became scrappy.

The home fans wanted a red card when Lascelles stopped the run of Hwang as he tried to go through on goal, but Taylor deemed a yellow sufficient.

That frustration was relieved in the 71st minute when Hwang made up for conceding the penalty with a fine equaliser, played in by Toti and leaving Dan Burn in a heap before rifling home.

Neto powered forward again in the 74th minute but just as he looked ready to pull the trigger he pulled up holding his hamstring, and neither side could find a winner at a damp Molineux.

Mauricio Pochettino empathises with supporters angry about the Premier League’s decision to move Chelsea’s trip to Wolves to Christmas Eve, admitting it has thrown his festive plans and anniversary celebrations with his wife into chaos.

The league confirmed on Thursday that the fixture, which has been pushed back 24 hours to accommodate TV coverage, will be the first played on December 24 since Manchester United played Leeds in 1995, a move that has drawn a backlash from fans.

Scheduled for a 1pm kick-off, it could leave supporters struggling to make travel arrangements with train timetables typically amended or curtailed the day before Christmas, while there are also concerns it will impact time supporters traditionally spend with family.

Pochettino is set to be doubly affected by the move, as not only is it Argentinian custom to begin Christmas celebrations late on December 24, the previous day also marks his and his wife’s 31st wedding anniversary – which he will now spend travelling to Wolverhampton.

Despite not being consulted by the league he conceded that the club has little choice but to go along, but backed objections by supporters who have spoken out.

“It’s a little bit strange but we need to accept the rules of the Premier League, that we need to go there and to play,” said Pochettino.

“(In Argentina) we celebrate on the night of the 24th. At 12 o’clock on the night we start to celebrate Christmas. More than the 25th because you’re asleep nearly all day. Here it’s different because you celebrate on the 25th with the family.

“I need to see things in a different way. For sure our fans are not happy but we need to accept this new era in football.

“(The Premier League) didn’t ask us. They wanted some meeting with me and all the coaches one week before the season. I said I’m more than happy to share time with you, but it’s better if you prepare the meeting before the end of the season to prepare the next season.

“If they ask me I will give my opinion, but at the moment we are not involved in the decisions.”

He added: “I don’t know what to do (with my wife). I need to find some ideas to compensate. (Search online for) ‘unhappy wife’.”

The Wolves game is the first of three in seven days for Chelsea over the Christmas period, with Crystal Palace due at Stamford Bridge on the evening of December 27 before visiting Luton on December 30.

The Palace game has been moved from Boxing Day in order to accommodate the controversial Christmas Eve fixture.

Pochettino reiterated that supporters’ concerns must be paramount in scheduling decisions.

“We play and we work and all that we are doing is for our fans,” he said. “Without fans, football (is nothing). We need to protect, and to care, and to look after our fans.

“Of course I agree with them, that I am not happy if they are not happy. It’s common sense. I can understand.

“I don’t know what is behind it. I don’t know why. No one explained. I cannot tell. I hope it’s one time and never again, but we’ll see what happens.

“People love football in England and they are going to be there. Our fans are going to be there supporting the team. But I don’t know if it’s going to be a regular situation.”

Asked whether the club would offer a new contract to Conor Gallagher – who has captained the side in the absence of injured pair Reece James and Ben Chilwell – Pochettino likened the situation to the balancing act he now faces on the home front.

“It’s like how we were talking about my wife,” he said. “It’s about to match and to feel good being together. It’s like a marriage with the club. They both need to feel good, then you can drive at a good deal.

“He is a player that is doing fantastic. He’s an amazing player and we’re so happy with the way he is doing things.”

Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali has been ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Wolves after FIFA ratified his 10-month ban.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed on Thursday that the 23-year-old had been suspended until next season after agreeing a plea bargain as part of an investigation into illegal betting activity.

On Friday morning Newcastle said they had yet to be officially informed of the ban, and the £55million summer signing from AC Milan was therefore expected to travel to the Midlands with the rest of the squad.

But FIFA later confirmed the request submitted by the FIGC to extend the sanction it imposed on Tonali to have worldwide effect has now been granted.

Magpies head coach Eddie Howe said at his morning press conference: “It’s a difficult one because we haven’t had official confirmation as a football club yet.

“We’ve heard the news, the statement, but we haven’t had anything from the Italian authorities at the moment, so we’re in limbo, really, waiting for that official confirmation to come through.”

Asked if there was a chance the Italy international could be involved at Molineux, Howe added: “Yes, I think there’s a high chance again that he could be available for us.

“I still think there are a few things that have to happen before the ban is imposed, so let’s see.”

The Italy international was also fined 20,000 euros and will have to undergo eight months of therapy as well as carrying out a series of public appearances.

Tonali found himself at the centre of a probe during this month’s international break into breaches of betting rules and was alleged to have wagered on games involving former clubs Brescia and Milan during his spells with them.

Agent Giuseppe Riso has claimed Tonali is living with a “gambling addiction” and the Magpies have vowed to support him as he attempts to deal with that, but as it stands he remains available for selection at a time when Howe’s midfield resources have been depleted by a back injury which will sideline Elliot Anderson for eight weeks, while Jacob Murphy is awaiting a verdict on the shoulder he dislocated against Dortmund.

The Magpies boss, who will be without striker Alexander Isak following a recurrence of a groin problem, said: “At the moment, he’s travelling with us. We’re preparing as if he’s fit and available to play.”

In the longer term, Howe knows Tonali faces a difficult spell on the sidelines – the club does not yet know whether he will be able to train with his team-mates – and one which will have to be carefully managed.

He said: “Certainly with Sandro’s situation, if he is ultimately banned for that length of time, he’s going to have really difficult moments within that timeframe, a lot of attention on him initially, and that’s a difficult situation for him.

“But then no doubt there’ll be a period where it’s just training – wherever he trains – and no game, and that’s very difficult for any player to adjust to, especially when they’re fit and able to play, so that’s going to be a difficult one.

“The communication between us, me and my coaching staff and him, is going to be hugely important.”

Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali could be involved in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Wolves despite being handed a 10-month ban.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed on Thursday that the 23-year-old had been suspended until next season after agreeing a plea bargain as part of an investigation into illegal betting activity.

However, Newcastle say they are yet to be officially informed of the ban, which is yet to be ratified by world governing body FIFA and, as it stands, the £55million summer signing from AC Milan was due to travel to the Midlands on Friday afternoon with the rest of the squad.

Magpies head coach Eddie Howe said: “It’s a difficult one because we haven’t had official confirmation as a football club yet.

“We’ve heard the news, the statement, but we haven’t had anything from the Italian authorities at the moment, so we’re in limbo, really, waiting for that official confirmation to come through.”

Asked if there was a chance the Italy international could be involved at Molineux, Howe added: “Yes, I think there’s a high chance again that he could be available for us.

“I still think there are a few things that have to happen before the ban is imposed, so let’s see.”

The Italy international was also fined 20,000 euros and will have to undergo eight months of therapy as well as carrying out a series of public appearances.

Tonali found himself at the centre of a probe during this month’s international break into breaches of betting rules and was alleged to have wagered on games involving former clubs Brescia and Milan during his spells with them.

What the papers say

Newcastle United will look to bolster their midfield with Al Hilal’s former Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, The Sun reports. The move comes after Newcastle’s Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali was banned for 10 months for betting breaches.

Chelsea are looking to sign teenage midfielder Gavi, who may leave Barcelona due to financial restrictions. The Daily Express says Barcelona could sell the Spaniard for £87million. Gavi has played in two of three Champions League games so far this season and 10 times in La Liga.

Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo is reportedly ready to sign a new long-term deal with the club after boss Marco Silva signed a new contract, according to the Standard.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Julian Alvarez: Manchester City would only sell the 23-year-old Argentinian forward for £80million or more, Football Insider reports.

Kevin de Bruyne: Football Insider also says Saudi Pro League clubs are interested in bringing the 32-year-old Manchester City midfielder to the league in 2024.

Gary O’Neil revealed he expected to still be job hunting at this point in the season after being sacked by Bournemouth in the summer, and is determined to repay Wolves for the faith they showed in him.

The 40-year-old’s first trip back to former employers Bournemouth ended in a 2-1 comeback victory on Saturday for his new side, now on a four-game unbeaten run in the top flight while the Cherries still remain in search of their first win of the season.

O’Neil, who took over at Molineux on a three-year-deal in August, oversaw a return of 36 points from his 34 top-flight games in charge to help Bournemouth avoid relegation in 2022/23 and was even a candidate on some pundits’ lists for manager of the season before he was sacked in June.

He said: “I didn’t really think about the level that I would be going in at (after sacking), I just knew I was ready to go back in and I expected it to be winter. I expected managers to start the season, some of them struggle, some of them do well, and then there would be an opportunity around now or the next few weeks.

“So the timing of it was a surprise. I know I’m capable of managing a big club, so I’m extremely grateful to Wolves because to give a young manager with only 10 months experience the reins is big belief and I’m hoping to repay them like I did when I was [at Bournemouth].

“I’m just working as hard as ever. Leave the office at half 10 at night, get in at seven o’clock in the morning, just in a different part of the country.”

O’Neil was appointed interim Bournemouth boss in August 2022 following the departure of Scott Parker, and made his Premier League managerial debut against Wolves, that goalless draw marking the beginning of a six-game unbeaten run that eventually helped earn him the permanent position.

By the end of the campaign the Cherries had survived a tense relegation battle, with O’Neil’s subsequent exit leaving many wondering if Bournemouth’s new owners would eventually rue their decision to let him go.

He said: “The world of football maybe sees my departure from [Bournemouth] differently to what I did, I would guess, which I understand. I’m guessing consensus was probably, ‘Oh, that’s a harsh one’, where was I was like, ‘that’s life. I’ve had an opportunity, I’ve done the best I can with it.’

“What I set myself was to leave [Bournemouth] in a better place than I found it. I left with my head held high and I started my managerial career, and that’s all it is. There’s never any more than that.”

Andoni Iraola, the man now in charge of the Cherries, is under more pressure than ever to deliver results after Saturday’s home contest derailed in the second half.

Dominic Solanke fired the hosts to a 1-0 lead that stood at half-time, but Matheus Cunha levelled within minutes of the restart before Lewis Cook’s needless red card sent what had been a resilient side down to 10 men, and a late defensive gaffe allowed Sasa Kalajdzic to score the winner.

Iraola, whose team sit second-bottom with three points from nine contests, said: “Especially when you are in the relegation spots like we are now, we have to be worried. I’m the first one to be worried.

“Now it’s a matter of finding ways to win. I think we prepared very well, we had the plan more or less quite clear, but it’s not enough with the things we are doing.”

Gary O’Neil maintained Wolves’ 2-1 victory over Bournemouth was no personal revenge tour after his side staged a comeback to take all three points at the Vitality Stadium from the club that sacked him in June.

The Cherries remain winless in nine Premier League contests this season but got off to a bright start on Saturday after Dominic Solanke fired them to a 1-0 half-time lead.

It all began to unravel after Matheus Cunha netted a quick equaliser after the restart and the hosts were left to defend for the majority of the second period with 10 men after Lewis Cook was shown red.

The hosts looked to have clung on for a point until Sasa Kalajdzic fired in a late winner.

O’Neil said: “It’s just a really big win for us to win on the road, second time this year.

“The fixtures have been very tough for us, I think we’ve had the toughest run of fixtures.

“We’re right up there at the top with the hardest runs, so to have gotten 11 points so far is really good, to win away from home against a good side that will cause teams problems is really good.

“But it’s not about me or returning to AFC Bournemouth, just a really good win for a group that are making progress and working extremely hard.

“Honestly, I feel no different to when we beat Manchester City, when we beat Everton. It feels exactly the same.

“I have huge respect for everybody at AFC Bournemouth, they gave me an opportunity to manage a Premier League football team.

“Thankfully I managed to go six unbeaten straight away, which got me on a decent run. But there’s nothing in it for me. It’s not that at all.”

Solanke’s strike lifted the spirits of supporters sorely in need of a boost, but the mood soured after Cook’s needless red card, issued following a VAR review that showed him headbutting Hwang Hee-chan to force his team into playing short-handed from the 54th minute.

To their credit the hosts held on until late, when Cherries keeper Neto’s loose short pass to Philip Billing was intercepted, ultimately allowing Hwang to set up Kalajdzic.

Despite the worrying run of results, Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola brushed aside speculation he might be running out of rope in the role he’s occupied since O’Neil’s exit.

Asked if he was concerned about his position, the Spaniard replied: “I’m not. Nobody should be concerned about Andoni Iraola, I’m concerned about AFC Bournemouth winning games.

“It’s like this and it has to be like this.

“I haven’t talked (to the board), but it’s not a matter of me or my situation. It’s a matter of how can we solve this the best way?”

Sasa Kalajdzic fired a late winner as Wolves completed a 2-1 comeback over 10-man Bournemouth at Vitality Stadium.

Dominic Solanke gave the home support hope of a first win of the season when he handed his side the lead in the first half on ex-Cherries boss Gary O’Neil’s first trip back to his former side.

It was all square two minutes after the break thanks to Matheus Cunha before the afternoon further unraveled for the hosts when Lewis Cook was sent off for a headbutt on Hwang Hee-chan .

Bournemouth had their chances and managed to keep things level until deep into the second period, but the late drama left the Cherries mired in an abysmal start to their campaign.

While O’Neil insisted his first trip back to Bournemouth was strictly business, one could forgive any deja vu he might have experienced standing in the opposite dugout, now managing the team he faced as a first-time Premier League manager last season.

This time it was a Cherries player, not a manager, who marked his Premier League debut with Andoni Iraola handing now-fit summer signing Alex Scott a start.

Both keepers were tested early, the hosts working the ball to David Brooks, who forced Jose Sa into a simple save with a rolling effort from the right.

A flurry of activity at the other end of the pitch soon saw Pedro Neto – making his 100th Premier League appearance – smash an effort off the crossbar, Cunha denied by Cherries keeper Neto, and Hwang – in the hunt for his seventh goal in nine games – nod wide.

With the unrelenting back-and-forth nature of the period still sustained it felt like a goal was imminent, and it soon came via another well-linked sequence beginning with Brooks finding Philip Billing.

The Denmark international slipped the ball to Solanke, who opened the scoring with a backheeled finish from six yards out, the 1-0 advantage standing at the break despite both sides threatening.

Wolves were level less than two minutes after the restart when Cunha fired past a diving Neto and soon it all began to unravel for the hosts, who were down to 10 men after Cook went in for a headbutt on Hwang and was shown a straight red after a VAR review.

The mood in the stadium, bursting with hope after Solanke’s opener, quickly soured as the officials broke up the ensuing fracas, though spirits somewhat lifted when substitute Ryan Christie was able to break loose and force Sa into a low save.

The hosts were given a boost when Neto squandered a late chance by firing his effort over the crossbar.

The Cherries sparked back to life after Dango Ouattara battled to win the ball deep inside Wolves’ half and had chances through Joe Rothwell and Billing, but after deftly defending deep into the second half, saw a potential point slip away when Hwang played through Kalajdzic, who side-footed in the winner.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil defused any tension after Unai Emery left without a handshake.

The Aston Villa manager walked down the tunnel after Sunday’s 1-1 draw while O’Neil spoke to the fourth official at full time.

Pau Torres had quickly cancelled out Hwang Hee-Chan’s second-half opener as Villa missed the chance to move into the Premier League’s top four.

Ollie Watkins hit the post with the last touch of the game after Mario Lemina was dismissed in stoppage time for a second caution.

They remain fifth after a scrappy derby at Molineux while Wolves built on their 2-1 victory at Manchester City last week and O’Neil dismissed any issue with Emery.

He said: “It was a lot of nothing, I was moaning at the fourth about playing 114 minutes and Unai didn’t want to wait for the handshake so he went to walk down the tunnel. I just said: ‘No problem, go down the tunnel’.

“I’ve waited ages for people (managers in the past), I understand that they want to talk with the fourth official.

“My conversation with the fourth official was about eight seconds long so he wouldn’t have had to wait very long. But I understand if he doesn’t want to, no problem. I’ve got no problem with Unai at all.

“I thought we edged it 11 v 11, apart from the start but a point is fairish I’d suggest. We looked comfortable, there wasn’t a huge gap between the sides.

“Eight points is not a bad return, we’re managing to score goals and trying to improve.”

Rayan Ait-Nouri steered Wolves’ best first-half chance wide and Jose Sa needed to be alert to divert Watkins’ effort over soon after the break.

But Wolves struck first after 53 minutes when Neto’s pace took him past Torres to cross for Hwang to net his sixth goal of the season.

The lead lasted just two minutes as Torres netted his first Villa goal when he turned in Watkins’ cross at the far post after Wolves were unable to clear Douglas Luiz’s free kick.

With 12 minutes left Neto should have settled the game when Sasa Kalajdzic’s excellent cross found Wolves’ star man only for him to blaze over from 10 yards.

Wolves then had to navigate eight of the 12 minutes of stoppage time with 10 men after Lemina was dismissed, earning a second yellow card for a tug on Nicolo Zaniolo.

And Villa nearly cashed in with the last touch of the game when Watkins thumped the base of the post.

Victory would have lifted Villa into the Champions League spots, after Liverpool’s 2-2 draw at Brighton.

“It’s a derby and we felt it on the pitch. There are a lot of supporters with us, they are pushing, it was a great atmosphere,” said Emery, who also called leaving without a handshake ‘nothing’.

“We tried to focus on the match. We reacted to the goal very quickly, it was key, and in 11 v 11 we created more chances but they had some very good transitions and chances.

“When they had a red card it was the moment where we tried to get the advantage.

“We are ambitious and very demanding. The first half we started very well but we lost a bit of control. We weren’t controlling the game and at that moment I was frustrated and upset.”

Aston Villa missed the chance to climb into the Premier League’s top four after a 1-1 draw at Wolves.

Pau Torres’ equaliser, just two minutes after Hwang-Hee Chan’s opener, saw them come from behind at Molineux.

Mario Lemina was sent off in stoppage time for a second booking and Ollie Watkins hit the post with the final touch of the match.

Liverpool’s 2-2 draw at Brighton opened the door for Villa to move into the Champions League spots but they never did enough for victory.

Wolves earned another solid point following last week’s swashbuckling 2-1 win over Manchester City to continue their progress under Gary O’Neil.

The manager would have been encouraged by another gritty performance and with better finishing from Pedro Neto it would have been another victory.

It was Villa, though, who started the brighter as Torres miscued a header and Jose Sa turned Matty Cash’s angled effort behind before John McGinn twice fired off target.

It preceded a good spell for Wolves, the hosts attempting to stamp their authority on the game without ever testing Emi Martinez.

Their final ball continued to elude them until Hwang crossed for Rayan Ait-Nouri to steer wide after 33 minutes.

Yet it was the hosts’ one decent chance of the half and they needed Lemina to rush out and block Douglas Luiz’s shot just before the break.

Villa’s start to the season, which had lifted them to fifth, was their second best in the Premier League but there were signs of tiredness and the visitors’ decision to resort to gamesmanship early belied the quality they have.

They emerged for the second half sharper, though, and Jose Sa turned over when Watkins directed McGinn’s pass goalwards.

It was a brief spark from Villa but there was little surprise when Wolves grabbed the lead after 53 minutes.

Douglas Luiz was caught by Hwang with the ball worked wide to Neto who ran at Torres. He engineered enough space to cross low for Hwang to poke in his fifth league goal of the season from close range.

But the celebrations were cut short just two minutes later when Villa hit back. The hosts failed to clear from Douglas Luiz’s free kick and Watkins’ cute cross was turned in by Torres.

It raised hopes the scrappy and, sometimes, ill-tempered game would take a step up in quality but neither side were able to ram home an advantage.

Wolves wanted a penalty when Neto tumbled under pressure from Boubacar Kamara while Villa failed to threaten Sa again.

With 12 minutes left, Neto should have settled the game when Sasa Kalajdzic’s excellent cross found Wolves’ star man, only for him to blaze over from 10 yards.

The hosts then had to see out eight of the 12 minutes of stoppage time – during which Watkins, Douglas Luiz and Nicolo Zaniolo went close – with 10 men when Lemina was dismissed for a second yellow card, after tugging back the Italian forward.

Watkins almost snatched it with the final touch of the game when his header smacked the base of the post.

Craig Dawson praised Wolves boss Gary O’Neil after their shock win over Manchester City.

The defender kept Erling Haaland quiet as Wolves earned a battling 2-1 win at Molineux on Saturday.

Hwang Hee-chan struck a second-half winner after Julian Alvarez had cancelled out Ruben Dias’ early own goal.

O’Neil had come in for early criticism from supporters, especially after Tuesday’s 3-2 Carabao Cup defeat at Ipswich, but Dawson insisted the manager deserved all the plaudits from Saturday.

He said: “A lot of credit has to go to the manager for getting us so organised, with the game plan, and getting us fully prepared for the match, which he has done for every single game. That win goes down to the manager.

“It was a massive win and it was great to see this place bouncing.

“It’s clear at times we were man to man and the players stuck to that task brilliantly and stuck to the game plan for the full duration of the game, which is great for the lads.

“It was all about concentration and keeping focused and credit to the manager for preparing us, getting us organised, and today we stuck to the plan and managed to get the victory.”

Defeat ended City’s flawless start to the Premier League season but they remain top, a point ahead of Tottenham and Arsenal – with a trip to the Emirates Stadium to come on Sunday.

“We’re all a bit disappointed now of course. We should have done more I guess,” midfielder Oscar Bobb told the club’s official site.

“We pushed for it and unfortunately didn’t get it. Leipzig (in the Champions League on Wednesday) is next, a big game ahead and then Arsenal. We’re only thinking forward.

“It’s not the greatest feeling, losing. I just want to keep pushing for more.

“It gives us the chance to prove that we’re still the best team, so we’re looking forward to it.”

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