Wolves showed no signs of fatigue as they kicked off their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win against Sheffield United on Monday.
Just 34 days after losing to Sevilla in their final game of the coronavirus-delayed 2019-20 season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side looked fresher than expected as they made a blistering start at Bramall Lane.
Raul Jimenez and Romain Saiss put Wolves two goals up after just six minutes and the visitors were in control the rest of the way despite their shorter than usual close season.
It was the perfect way to open the season for Nuno, who recently signed a new three-year contract, as he tries to improve on successive seventh-place finishes in the Premier League.
Surpassing Wolves’ best performance in back-to-back seasons since the 1960s will not be easy, but there is enough quality in Nuno’s team to challenge for European qualification.
There were just three minutes on the clock when Daniel Podence skipped past John Lundstram on the left flank and whipped his cross to Jimenez, who intelligently peeled away from his marker to guide a sublime half-volley into the roof of the net.
Jimenez nearly scored again moments later when the Mexican striker’s dipping effort was superbly tipped over by Aaron Ramsdale, who was making his second Blades debut after rejoining the club from Bournemouth in the close season.
Ramsdale was unable to stop Wolves doubling their lead in the sixth minute when Saiss met an outswinging corner with a thumping header that looped over the Blades keeper.
In his 100th game in all competitions for Wolves, the prolific Jimenez was proving impossible to contain and he was close to his 32nd Premier League goal when he curled just over.
After bullying most opponents at home last season, United were well off the pace and it was almost half-time before Wolves keeper Rui Patricio had to make a save from Oli McBurnie.
John Fleck almost reduced the deficit early in the second half when his shot cannoned off the post before George Baldock’s follow-up deflected wide.
Those near misses could not revive United and Wolves finished on top as Saiss and Jimenez both hit the woodwork.