Gary O’Neil said he has a ‘powerful’ Wolves star who plays just like Diogo Jota

Wolves have seen a new wave of stars develop under Gary O’Neil, and the manager has now been told that one of his greatest players resembles former Molineux great Diogo Jota.

Gary O’Neil has had a successful first season at Molineux, having taken over Wolves in difficult circumstances last summer, just days before the start of the 2023/24 season.

When Julen Lopetegui left the club due to worries about the squad’s strength as a result of financial constraints, there was speculation that O’Neil would struggle to retain the team he inherited in the top flight.

The 40-year-old has overcome the expectations in his first tenure in the Midlands, bringing Wolves into fighting for a European

Finish before recurrent injuries exposed his squad’s lack of depth.
The manager’s success so far can be attributed in part to the way he sets up the squad, with a number of players, such Matheus Cunha, performing at their best in a Wolves shirt under O’Neil.

Why Wolves’ star Matheus Cunha has been compared to Diogo Jota
On the Wolves Weekly podcast, host Mikey Burrows and former Wolves left-back Barry Douglas praised Cunha, comparing him to Nuno Espirito Santo’s gem, Diogo Jota.

Matheus Cunha - Player profile 23/24 | Transfermarkt

Burrows said: “I’ve likened him in the past to Jota, and the way that Diogo used to run at people and beat them, he’s very direct.”

To which Douglas agreed, saying: “The few games that I’ve seen of him, he just looks so powerful and direct. Like you said about how Diogo used to be, quite raw at times but just so powerful when he’s running.”
It’s a fair piece of analysis from the duo, who have seen first-hand just how potent both Jota and Cunha have been when wearing the Old Gold.

Burnley FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

The Brazilian has many attributes that are traceable in Jota’s style of play, particularly their positioning and desire to run at the opposition, with the Portugal international finding sanctuary playing centrally just behind the number nine.
The same can be said about Cunha, who has finally started to find his feet at Molineux in O’Neil’s system, being taken away from leading the line to playing in the pocket slightly behind.

Matheus Cunha would hope to replicate the success of Diogo Jota in the Premier League

Jota, who has 56 Premier League goals to his name representing both Wolves and Liverpool, had an unforgettable campaign back in the infamous 2017/18 calendar in the Championship, where he played his best football for the Midlands club.

Cunha, who joined the club in January 2023, is only in the early stages of his career in England, but he is already showing hints that he could follow in the footsteps of Jota, who has adapted successfully to Premier League football.

Cunha scored twice against Nottingham Forest on Sunday, giving him over ten goals for the first time in his European career, demonstrating how well he is adjusting to O’Neil’s system.

Only time will tell if the 24-year-old can match Jota’s performance in the Premier League, but there is no doubt that he is capable of doing so.

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