Claire Hakeman brands Joao Moutinho 'integral' despite reduced minutes for Wolves
Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
Photo by Paul Greenwood - CameraSport via Getty Images

Claire Hakeman brands Joao Moutinho 'integral' despite reduced minutes for Wolves

Joao Moutinho is still ‘integral’ to Wolves, according to Claire Hakeman.

Wanderers recorded a huge 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend to relieve some of the pressure.

Adama Traore stuck the game’s only goal in the second-half of the season.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images via Getty Images

The result has lifted Wolves up to 13th in the table, and it’s Newcastle United up next for Wolves.

The win over Spurs came about as a result of some excellent tactical changes by Julen Lopetegui.

He changed the system at half-time and went with a back three, with Nathan Collins replacing Mario Lemina.

Traore also replaced Pedro Neto, who struggled to make an impact on his return to the starting XI.

But one man who also made a huge impact for Wolves was Moutinho, who replaced Matheus Nunes midway through the second-half.

The 36-year-old was magnificent when he came on and completely controlled the game for Wanderers.

He also played a part in the goal, finding Raul Jimenez with a great line-breaking pass.

Once Wolves had the lead, Moutinho really showed his experience. Towards the end of the game, he was down by the corner flag and managed to run the clock down well.

His nous impressed former Wolves Women player Claire Hakeman.

Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

She said on Matchday Live: “I think he’s done it a number of times this season, where he’s come off the bench and really settled. He, along with other subs, changed the game.

We looked so composed, the panic stopped, we got possession and kept possession. It’s that control of the game that he has.

“Don’t get me wrong, I think there’ll be times where he probably does need a rest, because obviously he is towards the end of his career, but what a player he is.

“He has the experience to see the game out. Without being rude, if you have the wrong player in the corner, thinking they’ll knock it in and get a second, this position maybe doesn’t happen. He’s seen the game out for us because he’s got that game management. He’s integral.”

£5 million signing Moutinho has been seeing fewer minutes for Wolves of late.

This calendar year in the Premier League, he has not played 90 minutes once, and only played more than 70 minutes twice. Prior to the World Cup, he played 90 minutes in the league on seven occasions

Wolves maestro Joao Moutinho showed he’s still integral against Tottenham – and his reduction in minutes is helping him

Moutinho is simply a class act.

Of course, his age is now catching up with him a bit. But that does not mean he can’t still be really influential for Wolves.

If his role is reduced and he only starts games once every few weeks, it could help both him and the team.

Photo by Paul Greenwood – CameraSport via Getty Images

His cameo against Spurs was fantastic, and he just looked so refreshed and full of energy. When he starts, he has to think about conserving himself. As a substitute, he can just go for it.

As Hakeman says, he is still an integral player for Wanderers.