Wolves boss Dean Saunders is 'on a mission' for Premier League

Saunders sends Wolves warning

New Wolves manager Dean Saunders says he is "on a mission" to bring Premier League football back to Molineux.

"My brief is the Premier League," the 48-year-old Welshman told BBC Sport at his official unveiling on Monday. "I want to manage at the highest level and I'm on a mission to get there."

Saunders inherits a disheartened Wolves team lying 18th in the Championship.

But he insists: "Although we're right up against it, three or four wins on the trot and we'd be right up there."

After being heavily criticised by their fans for sacking Mick McCarthy in February when they had no obvious successor lined up, Wolves were this time ahead of the game in their appointment of Saunders.

Experienced Championship managers of the calibre of Owen Coyle and Wolverhampton-born Sean O'Driscoll were both available.

But Saunders was already on owner Steve Morgan's radar even before Saturday's miserable FA Cup exit at Luton finally spelt the end of Stale Solbakken.

"Last time, we interviewed seven or eight and got absolutely slated," Morgan told BBC WM. "This time we went straight for our man and we're getting slated again.

"Give us a break. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't."

Apart from having played for the Wolves owner's boyhood heroes Liverpool (who Morgan twice tried to buy before he took control at Molineux in 2007), former Wrexham boss Saunders has continued to move in similar North Wales social circles.

"I've known Dean for some time," admitted Morgan.

"Our paths did cross at Wrexham and I'd followed his career before that with John Toshack at Wales.

"I didn't think Stale Solbakken was a gamble at the time. He is an excellent manager, with an excellent pedigree, but performances have fallen well below of what was expected.

"We do not have a hire and fire philosophy but we do demand results. And I'm confident we now have the right man.

"There is no culture difference with Dean. He's a hardworking bloke, whose footballing philosophy is straightforward.

"Dean is a very different character. He comes with maybe not huge managerial experience but huge footballing experience. He played until he was 37, which I think is a great qualification.

"He leads from the front and he asks his players to do the same. If they don't, then they have no future at the club."

And while Saunders said he was delighted to take over at Molineux, he admitted he was expecting a challenging time.

"It's not going to be plain sailing," he said. "But I'll walk through disappointments.

"This is a challenge and I'm going to enjoy it, or I might as well just sit in the garden.

"I'm just really proud to be manager, because Wolves are a great club, a massive club with passionate supporters. I remember playing here and not [being] able to hear my team-mates speak because of the noise.

"And I'm on a mission now to drive the club forward."

Although he now has time to make use of the January transfer window and move one or two of McCarthy's men on, Saunders also insists that there is plenty to work with at Molineux.

"We've got some great players and everybody has to pull in the right direction," he added.

"I have an inclination that we are weak in certain areas. And we now need players with pride, who are determined to fight for the club.

"It's like waking up with the biggest hangover you've ever had and you can't get rid of it. We have to get rid of that mentality.

"Players have to stop feeling sorry for themselves and stop blaming others and there's no reason why can't climb up the league and get back to the Premier League."