Injured Wolves striker Sasa Kalajdzic believes the club struggled this season because of the fear of relegation itself.
The star has conducted an interview with Sky Sports Austria to talk about a campaign that he’s been unable to influence following the serious injury he suffered on his debut.
Kalajdzic has had to be a spectator this term, because he damaged his ACL against Southampton, just says after joining the club from Stuttgart.
It was hugely unfortunate for the Austria international, and fans were gutted as many hoped he’d be the answer to Wolves’ goalscoring issues.
His injury prompted Wolves to make a move for Diego Costa, who was a free agent.
The veteran has turned out to a good addition for Wolves. While he has only scored one goal, it has often been said that Costa has had a major impact on the dressing room.
Kalajdzic – who is apparently seen as a key player for next season by Julen Lopetegui – has been forced to watch Wolves from the stands and at home. And he believes that the fear of relegation has really inhibited the team.
He said: “We are a team with so much potential. If you’ve been in a relegation place all the time, you can never reach your full potential because you don’t bring that self-confidence to the pitch.
“I was in the same situation in Stuttgart in my last season. You have so many players with so much potential who want to show that. But you’re also just afraid that your mistakes will be punished directly, especially in a relegation battle.
“I think that’s what happened throughout the year. How can we really exploit our potential when there’s a bit of fear that we’ll lose?”
Thankfully for Wolves, Julen Lopetegui agreed to become the new manager just before the World Cup.
Ultimately, this decision saved Wolves. That, and the moves to bring in the likes of Craig Dawson and Mario Lemina in January.
The mid-season additions changed the picture at Molineux, and Wolves will now be playing Premier League football again next season.
Sasa Kalajdzic has a point, Wolves’ players looked like they were playing with fear prior to Julen Lopetegui’s arrival
This is a fair comment from Kalajdzic, who obviously knows the psychology of fighting against relegation from his time at Stuttgart.
Since being back in the Premier League, Wolves haven’t really had many worries about relegation to the Championship.
There was a bit of jeopardy in Nuno Espirito Santo’s final season. But ultimately Wolves were fine.
This term though, relegation had been a genuinely possibility.
Prior to Lopetegui’s arrival, Wanderers were all over the place. The team couldn’t score, couldn’t defend and couldn’t compete.
Most of them looked like they were extremely inhibited by being down at the bottom of the table.
Thankfully, Wolves were able to make the mid-season changes they needed to ultimately pull clear of danger.