Wolves boss O'Neil praises 'smart' Kalajdzic for goal against Everton

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil praises ‘smart’ Sasa Kalajdzic for match-winner against Everton and backs striker to ‘impact matches’ after returning from ACL injury

  • Wolves left it late to beat Everton at Goodison Park, with Kalajdzic scoring 
  • The forward came off the bench as O’Neil manages his minutes upon his return 
  • Kalajdzic has spent nearly a year out with an ACL injury

There couldn’t have been a more popular Wolves match-winner than 6ft7ins striker Sasa Kalajdzic who had spent nearly a year out with an ACL injury.

The big Austrian was crocked soon after his move from Stuttgart and didn’t play between last September and coming on as a substitute at Old Trafford a fortnight ago.

His clever header from Pedro Neto’s cross yesterday was therefore his first goal in Wolves colours and manager Gary O’Neil said Kalajdzic deserved the euphoric celebrations with team-mates and fans the 87th-minute winner arriving just two minutes after he’d replaced Matheus Cunha.

‘Sasa is popular in the dressing-room. Very highly thought of in the group,’ said O’Neil.

‘They have seen him go through a tough spell and it was really fitting for him to celebrate with the people who have been around and know what he’s come back from.

Sasa Kalajdzic netted a late winner for Wolves against Everton on Saturday afternoon

Gary O’Neil has praised the forward for his return from injury and his role in the Wolves squad

The Wolves boss says that the forward ‘needs extra time on the grass’ but can have an impact

‘It was big moment for Sasa but also reward for the really big effort everyone put in.’

Everton and Wolves were the two lowest scorers in the Premier League last season and were set to play out the first goalless draw of this campaign until Kalajdzic showed his class.

‘It was an important touch to guide the ball in. A very smart finish,’ added O’Neil

‘He has worked very hard since I have been here. You couldn’t play him at the moment for 90 minutes but he has quality in the penalty area. I thought he could be the guy because we were getting into good areas.

‘He looked a big behind sharpness-wise when I came in 15 days ago and I don’t have a clear picture of what he is like when he is full throttle.

‘He understands he needs extra time on the grass. But he can impact matches.’

O’Neil confirmed that Hwang Hee-Chan was withdrawn at half-time because of a hamstring injury.

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