Wolves could be big winners of behind-closed-doors football and pip Man Utd and Chelsea to Champions League sport

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ALL the talk is about the race for the Champions League places — but discount Wolves at your peril.

If there is one side that could really benefit from playing behind closed doors, it’s them.

Level on points with Sheffield United and five behind fourth-placed Chelsea, Nuno Espirito Santo’s underdogs are not being talked about as much as Manchester United or Tottenham.

For me, Wolves are one of the best teams in the league at controlling games out of possession.

If they have struggled, it’s been at their Molineux home where the onus is on them with their crowd wanting front-foot football.

Their seven draws at home are more than anyone, dropping points against the likes of Burnley, Southampton, Newcastle and Brighton.

If they were able to play like they tend to on the road, would some of those have turned into victories?

But it’s very hard to set up like that from the off at home against teams below you, as the crowd will demand you go for it.

To be able to sit back and play like the away team on the counter you need that first goal, ideally from a quick start.

But with no supporters for the rest of the season, that onus will not be on them in quite the same way.

For their last four games at Molineux, Nuno could change the mindset, sitting and waiting to see what the opposition does.

After a trip to West Ham they then host Bournemouth before facing Arsenal, Everton and Crystal Palace on home soil.

While you would expect Arsenal to try to dictate the game, the other three would most likely come to frustrate and make life tough with men behind the ball.

But in these unique times, Wolves have the potential to play in a unique way.

At their best they are incredibly organised and when playing away lead the opposition into a false sense of security.

They will sit off and allow opposition centre-backs or defensive midfielders to come out with the ball, letting them go in a certain direction.

But once they win the ball back they are so quick to utilise that leftover space and drive right at the heart of open defences.

Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves both have the passing range and accuracy to find that space on the turnover for the speedy Adama Traore and all-round striker Raul Jimenez.

 

It’s been an incredibly effective tactic and helped them beat both Manchester City and Tottenham away earlier this season.

But whereas at home this has been more difficult, now is the perfect time to try it.

If they can quickly adapt to play like they do away from home at Molineux, then they have as good a chance as anyone of finishing in a Champions League spot.

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