West Ham slipped into the relegation zone after a 1-0 defeat at Wolves increased the pressure on Hammers manager David Moyes as the home side moved out of the bottom three.
Daniel Podence’s second-half winner extended West Ham’s winless Premier League run to seven games as the Hammers fell to 18th and a point from safety.
Podence’s fine finish from a counter-attack (48) gave new Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui his first Premier League home win, with his side leapfrogging West Ham to move 16th and two points above the drop zone.
Wolves: Sa (7); Semedo (7), Collins (7), Kilman (7), Bueno (7); Neves (8), Nunes (7); Hwang (6), Moutinho (7), Podence (8); Cunha (6).
Subs: Jimenez (6), Ait-Nouri (6), Traore (6), Lemina (6), Toti (n/a).
Away Team: Fabianski (6); Coufal (6), Aguerd (6), Ogbonna (6), Cresswell (6); Rice (7), Soucek (6); Bowen (6), Paqueta (6), Fornals (6); Anthony (6).
Subs: Benrahma (6), Scamacca (6).
Man of the match: Reuben Neves.
West Ham, who rarely troubled Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa in an insipid display at Molineux, have not won in the league since October 24 and face second-bottom Everton next Saturday at home.
An under-pressure Moyes said on his future afterwards: “I would never look at myself and say I’ve got credit in the bank.
“Lots of people are after jobs in this league. I’m not daft, I’ve had enough games in it to understand. You have to do well to keep your job. We have to try and do better than we’re doing at the moment.”
He also added: “What we’ve given West Ham supporters in the last few years, I hope they can give us back.
“We are in a difficult period. If they give us back everything the staff and the players have given the club in the last couple of years then I’m sure that will help us.”
How Wolves piled pressure on Moyes
- Wolves head coach Julen Lopetegui handed a full debut to January signing Matheus Cunha.
- The Atletico Madrid loanee came in as one of five changes from their Carabao Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest as Nathan Collins, Ruben Neves, Hugo Bueno and Daniel Podence were also recalled.
- West Ham showed three alterations from their FA Cup win at Brentford, Craig Dawson dropped from the squad after manager David Moyes revealed Wolves had bid for the defender.
- Vladimir Coufal was passed fit to play as Aaron Cresswell and Pablo Fornals also returned for Dawson, Emerson Palmieri and Ben Johnson.
West Ham headed to Wolves having gained some much-needed momentum from an FA Cup third-round win at Brentford last weekend.
It was the visitors who came closest in an underwhelming first half as Vladimir Coufal had a goal-bound effort cleared away by Hugo Bueno after it had beaten Sa.
But Wolves struck just three minutes into the second half as they launched a counter-attack from a West Ham corner that ended with Matheus Nunes’ cross deflecting into the path of Podence, who fired home first time from the edge of the box.
The Portuguese forward’s fifth goal of the season proved to be the difference as Wolves twice came close to doubling the lead.
Ruben Neves hit the bar with a wonderful curling effort in the 75th minute, while substitute Raul Jimenez had a stoppage-time goal ruled out for offside.
West Ham failed to muster a real chance to equalize with Moyes’ side now having scored just six away goals in the league this season.
Moyes: It wasn’t a hugely bad performance
West Ham manager David Moyes: “You’re under pressure in all of the games. Today was a big game and they’re really tight. There isn’t much in them.
“We have to try to change that 1-0 defeat into a 1-0 win, if we can.
“It wasn’t a hugely bad performance today. It wasn’t that we didn’t play that well, what we’ve found this year *is that we’ve not been able to get the goals when we should. We probably made enough chances today to do so.
“We got done by a counter-attack from a corner which was really disappointing.”
Lopetegui: Keeping clean sheet is very important
Wolves head coach Julen Lopetegui: “I’m pleased with the players’ commitment, effort and character against a very good team.
“To have a clean sheet is very important – this is the first step. We’re always looking for the goal but having this clean sheet is going to be key in the future for us.”
FPL Stats: Wolves 1-0 West Ham
|Bonus points||Sa (3pts), Kilman (3pts), Semedo (1pt)|
Player of the match: Ruben Neves
The Wolves captain controlled the game and he was at the heart of everything positive the home side did.
The Portuguese midfielder came close to scoring too as he hit the bar but even without a goal he was key in this vital win.
Opta stats: West Ham’s woes continue
- West Ham have lost 12 of their 19 Premier League games this season, they’ve never lost more at the halfway point in any previous top-flight campaign.
- Wolves have won two of their four Premier League matches under Julen Lopetegui (D1 L1), as many victories as in their previous 22 games in the competition (D6 L14).
- West Ham are winless in eight Premier League away games (D2 L6), they were last on a longer such run between August and December 2017 (nine games).
- Only Southampton (15) have conceded the first goal in more different Premier League games than West Ham (13) this season.
Wolves’ next game is an FA Cup third-round replay at home to Liverpool on Tuesday – kick-off 7.45pm.
Julen Lopetegui’s side then travel to Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, January 22 – kick-off 2pm.
West Ham’s next outing is a crucial Premier League clash against fellow strugglers Everton on Saturday – kick-off 3pm.