Wolverhampton Wanderers v Cadiz CF - Friendly
Photo by Isaac Parkin - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Julen Lopetegui praises Raul Jimenez after goal for Wolves against Gillingham

Wolves progressed to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup last night with a 2-0 win over Gillingham.

The Julen Lopetegui era is officially off to a winning start.

Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images

It was by no means a great performance from Wolves at Molineux last night.

But the most important thing was to avoid a giant-killing against a side at the very foot of the Football League.

Wolves dominated the game, but struggled to breach a stubborn defence.

Lopetegui brought on Adama Traore in place of Joe Hodge for the second-half, and changed the formation to a 4-2-3-1.

That had a slightly positive impact. But the introductions of Matheus Nunes and Hwang Hee-chan seemed to be the catalyst for Wolves.

In the 77th minute, Cheye Alexander fouled Hwang in the area, and Raul Jimenez – on for Diego Costa – stepped up to convert the penalty.

Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images

Rayan Ait-Nouri then sealed the win with a goal in injury-time.

It was great to see Jimenez back amongst the goals for Wolves. His last came against Preston North End all the way back in August.

Lopetegui was pleased with his number nine, saying afterwards (via Wolves official): “When a striker scores, it’s very important for him, but today it was important for the team. He has the responsibility to score the penalty and he has played well with a very good mentality, despite the penalty.”

Raul Jimenez scoring for Wolves again brilliant to see, as Lopetegui era gets off the winning start against Gillingham

It was great to see Jimenez back in Wolves colours and getting himself on the scoresheet.

The 31-year-old has a way to go to reach peak fitness levels.

Hopefully he can soon become completely ready for Wolves in terms of fitness and sharpness.

Photo by Isaac Parkin – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Wanderers need their number nine fit and firing. Because we know Diego Costa is not the player he used to be.

Jimenez has endured a tough past couple of months. But hopefully, following this goal and runout, he can put everything behind him and help his club get back on track.