Match ends, Burnley 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0.
Burnley 2-0 Wolves: Clarets boost Premier League survival hopes
Burnley teenager Dwight McNeil "laid down a marker" by inspiring his side to a win over Wolves that boosted their hopes of Premier League survival, says Clarets manager Sean Dyche.
McNeil, 19, set up the early opener on Saturday, and then sealed victory with a superb solo strike as the hosts ended a run of four straight defeats and moved five points clear of the relegation zone.
Burnley led inside 90 seconds when Chris Wood's shot from a tight angle hit the post before going in off Wolves captain Conor Coady.
A hard-fought match produced few clear-cut chances and could have swung in the direction of either side - but a moment of brilliance from McNeil sealed a potentially crucial win for the home side at a jubilant Turf Moor.
The forward maintained his composure in the Wolves box - in a rare opportunity for the hosts in the second half - to precisely drill into the bottom-right corner.
That sparked relieved celebrations among the home contingent as boss Dyche marked his 300th game in management with three points which could be vital at the end of the campaign.
"Dwight is only 19 but he's rolling around the Premier League in a tough situation and doing what he's doing. He has certainly laid a marker down," said Dyche.
"He's a really good player and I'm enjoying what he's doing."
Burnley's victory, coupled with relegation rivals Southampton winning at Brighton, confirmed Huddersfield's demotion back to the Championship.
McNeil catches the eye as Burnley dig deep
Burnley boss Dyche started his managerial career with a 2-0 win over Wolves - in November 2012 when he was with Watford - and McNeil's strike ensured his 300th game ended with a sense of symmetry.
More importantly, it put clear space between his side and third-bottom Cardiff, although that gap can be reduced when the Bluebirds host Chelsea on Sunday.
This was a game won largely by Clarets perspiration, coupled with two pieces of inspiration from Lancashire-born McNeil.
McNeil, whose form this season has also been recognised with a call-up to the England Under-20 squad, showed quick-thinking from a free-kick to release Wood for the opening goal.
Then, with Wolves threatening an equaliser, he calmed a nervous Turf Moor by showing his quality and fearlessness when driving forward into the visitors' box to score the second.
"That's my best moment in a Burnley shirt - I hope I get plenty more like it," said McNeil, who has scored three goals in his breakthrough season.
McNeil's strike was Burnley's only shot on target. They were starved of possession for long periods and needed to remain focused and organised to keep Wolves at bay.
"We can play better but the detail is in the basics," Dyche added. "We did all the ugly, hard stuff to make it difficult for them."
Wolves pay the price
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo spoke in the build-up about the importance of his side not looking beyond Saturday, despite Tuesday's home game against Manchester United and, more importantly, next weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Watford at Wembley looming.
While it would be difficult to criticise their focus and application at Turf Moor, the away side lacked the ingenuity to break down an organised Burnley defence.
Wolves had almost 65% of the possession and spent more time in the opposing third than their hosts, yet only managed one effort on target.
That came when left wing-back Jonny Castro Otto arrived unmarked at the far post to head goalwards, only to see a perfectly positioned Clarets keeper Tom Heaton hold on to the ball.
Otherwise the visitors failed to create many clear sights of goal, though Diogo Jota did curl an opportunist effort past the far post shortly after the restart and Leander Dendoncker was guilty of shooting wastefully over moments later.
"I don't think we deserved too much today to be honest," Wolves skipper Coady said.
'I've always marvelled at our mentality' - post-match reaction
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "It is a very important three points. The main thing was that, although we've played better, the detail was in the basics - doing the ugly, hard stuff to make sure we didn't give them too much. That was important.
"I've always marvelled at the mentality of the players. We had a real hit against Leicester when we dominated game and lost in the last minute - but we've had a break and the players are back energised.
"That bodes well and we have to maintain that and get points on the board. But today is a good sign of the mentality of the players."
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo: "We started very badly, we lost concentration and communication and then it became much more difficult for us.
"In the second half we started well and had some good moments, but then conceded the second and the game was over. There are a lot of things we have to look at.
"We must be clinical and produce better. At the start of the second half we caused them danger but need to do it for the whole game and especially look at our defensive organisation.
"We can't concede how we did today, we made a big mistake."
Man of the match - James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Burnley rewarded for rare clean sheet - stats of the day
- Burnley registered their first clean sheet in nine league games.
- Wolves have won just one of their past six Premier League games, drawing three and losing two, after winning three in a row before that.
- After keeping a clean sheet in two of their first four away league games this season, Wolves have conceded in their past 12 on the road.
- Wolves defender Coady has scored three own goals in the league this term, with only two players registering more in a Premier League season - Liverpool's Martin Skrtel in 2013-14 and Brighton's Lewis Dunk in 2017-18, both with four.
- Wolves' four own goals in the league this campaign is the most of any side.
- McNeil has been directly involved in five goals in his past seven Premier League games for Burnley at Turf Moor, scoring three and assisting two.
- He has been directly involved in seven league goals this season - three goals, four assists - which is the joint most of any teenager, level with Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon.
Wolves have no time to dwell on this defeat as they return to action on Tuesday when they host Manchester United in the league at Molineux (19:45 BST kick-off).
Burnley next play on Saturday, 6 April when they go to Bournemouth (15:00).
- 31McNeilBooked at 67minsSubstituted forBerg Gudmundssonat 87'minutes
- 7Berg Gudmundsson
- 11Rui Patrício
- 37TraoréSubstituted forHélder Costaat 72'minutes
- 32DendonckerSubstituted forDohertyat 59'minutes
- 8NevesBooked at 90mins
- 28João Moutinho
- 19Castro Otto
- 7CavaleiroSubstituted forJiménezat 59'minutes
- 10Hélder Costa
- Chris Kavanagh
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Burnley 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0.
Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Charlie Taylor (Burnley) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt blocked. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Diogo Jota with a cross.
Offside, Burnley. Tom Heaton tries a through ball, but Chris Wood is caught offside.
Foul by Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
James Tarkowski (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Burnley. Johann Gudmundsson replaces Dwight McNeil.
Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Phil Bardsley.
Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James Tarkowski (Burnley).
Attempt missed. Jack Cork (Burnley) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a set piece situation.
Attempt blocked. Ashley Barnes (Burnley) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Cork.
Foul by Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Ashley Barnes (Burnley) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by João Moutinho with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Charlie Taylor.
Goal! Burnley 2, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0. Dwight McNeil (Burnley) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by James Tarkowski with a headed pass.
Attempt saved. Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by João Moutinho with a cross.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Hélder Costa replaces Adama Traoré.
João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ashley Westwood (Burnley).
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Willy Boly.
Foul by Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Ashley Barnes (Burnley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by João Moutinho.
Dwight McNeil (Burnley) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Dwight McNeil (Burnley).
Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jeff Hendrick (Burnley).
Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ashley Barnes (Burnley).
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Raúl Jiménez replaces Ivan Cavaleiro.
Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Matt Doherty replaces Leander Dendoncker.
Attempt blocked. Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Leander Dendoncker.
Second Half begins Burnley 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0.