Gary O’Neil demonstrated his strategic acumen as he guided his Wolverhampton Wanderers team to victory over his former club, Bournemouth, this past Saturday. Wolves managed to overcome a deficit and secure a 2-1 win at the Vitality Stadium, with Matheus Cunha and Sasa Kalajdzic scoring the crucial goals, granting O’Neil a measure of revenge against the club that dismissed him in June.
As a guest on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, the Bournemouth manager illustrated to Jamie Carragher the tactics that helped his team outperform the opposition. O’Neil, aged 40, revealed the training work his team had put in during the international break, particularly focusing on creating a four-versus-three advantage when transitioning from defense to attack.
He elaborated, “These are things we worked on in training. So, Bouba Traore initiated the movement to shift Philip Billing across the pitch, prompting Joao Gomes to recognize the cue to drop down. Alex Scott would then make a late appearance to try to rectify the situation and give the opposition their spare man. Finally, Cunha, who had rotated with Pedro, would join in to complete the four-versus-three situation, and the center-back would hesitate to engage. As a result, we’d progress up the pitch.”
O’Neil emphasized that the team had diligently practiced this tactic for several weeks, and although it didn’t always result in success, they managed to execute it around 15 times during the game, ultimately scoring a goal from a four-versus-three scenario, which he described as “every manager’s dream.”
This victory extended Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola’s winless streak in the Premier League, as he is yet to secure a league win in his first nine games, with their only wins coming in the Carabao Cup. Bournemouth faces a crucial home match against fellow strugglers Burnley in their upcoming fixture.
In contrast, O’Neil’s Wolves secured their third win of the season against Bournemouth, positioning themselves comfortably in 12th place in the league under his guidance, despite his appointment just four days before the season began. Their next challenge will be against Newcastle at Molineux, where O’Neil’s latest tactics will once again be under scrutiny.