Determined AVB buys himself time
It can only be assumed that the Chelsea hierarchy have not supported the growing bandwagon of pressure that has been mounting on manager Andre Villas-Boas in the last few weeks.
After all, sporting revolutions are rarely executed without a degree of turbulence along the way and when you splash out €15m to secure the services of a youthful coach and ask him to reshape a team of proven winners that had grown old together, patience is a commodity that should be granted as a matter of course.
The trouble is, Chelsea Tsar Roman Abramovich has never indulged his managers with such breathing space, with a succession of managers discovering that failure to produce instant success leads to hasty change at this particular club.
Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti will testify that when poor results are complemented by media stories suggesting all is not well at the Chelsea training ground, the manager is generally the fall guy who bites the dust.
Such rumours surrounding Villas-Boas are ludicrous in the extreme just five months after his arrival at Chelsea, with the looming presence of an unemployed Guus Hiddink the horizon doing little to lighten the air of despair that has quickly developed above the 34-year-old Portuguese coach.
Stories that "senior players" have expressed their displeasure over the methods of their youthful boss and that Villas-Boas's assistant Roberto Di Matteo is unhappy with his position at the club must have been destabilising, so he picked this game to have another stay at putting his own stamp on this Chelsea team.
With Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard 'rested', Oriol Romeu was included in a fresh-looking Chelsea midfield with Juan Mata, Ramires, Raul Meireles and Daniel Sturridge. It was a 4-3-3 formation that offered energy, pace and invention and proved to be far too much for Wolves to handle once skipper John Terry opened the scoring after just seven minutes.
Intriguingly, Terry ran to the touchline to toast his goal and yet he avoided any form or eye contact or celebratory embrace with his embattled manager. This senior player preferred to pick out a friend in the crowd to share his delight with.
With Chelsea leading, this game quickly turned into a one-side mismatch as Wolves failed to compete with their opponents and seemed content to adopt a damage limitation plan, which was hardly helped by the concession of further goals from Sturridge and Mata before the break.
There was hardly any point in Wolves showing up for the second half and the cynics would argue they had not bothered to make an appearance in the first half either, but they owed their travelling supporters and did manage to improve a little as they kept the final score line respectable in a second half.
It was a result that gave Villas-Boas some much needed relief and his performance in front of the media was far more assured, with the nervous tetchy exchanges of recent weeks replaced by a more relaxed jovial display of friendly banter.
"Maybe I can help you in your job a little by pointing out that we are just two goals away from being the top scorers in the Premier League," he said with a broad smile on his face. "This is my attempt to change the dynamic here, to have a positive outlook on a team I believe in.
"This victory was needed today and while this one victory does not take pressure off me, it is helpful. Now we have to add some consistency and see where it takes us because the belief will be the last thing that will die with us. We still believe we can challenge for the title, that is the way this team thinks."
Villas-Boas admitted there has been "a degree of chaos" around his team as they have slumped to a series of damaging defeats of late, but he attempted to add a gloss to those setbacks. "I look at the games we have lost and it is clear that we have been unfortunate to finish with nothing in most of them," he added. "Clearly I know the demands that go with this job, but I remain confident we are on the right path.
"December can be very important for us. We have some big away games against Newcastle and Tottenham and we will have a better idea of where this team is when we get to the end of next month. I am convinced we can be in a good place."
In the end, results will dictate whether he gets a chance to complete the overhaul of a Chelsea team he helped to build during his time as one of Jose Mourinho's Stamford Bridge assistants and it can only be hoped that Abramovich and those who make the key decisions at this club stand by a manager who they put so much faith in just a few short months ago.
The seeds of a new-look side are now being planted by the coach hired to carry out the surgery and if Villas-Boas turns out to be the wrong man to execute this Chelsea revival, those who recruited him should look at themselves rather than point the finger of blame at their latest chosen one.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Daniel Sturridge
Employed in a left wing role by Villas-Boas, the Chelsea youngster was a constant threat to the Wolves back line. His first half goal was reward for a dynamic performance.
TERRY YELLOW CARD: Villas-Boas smiled as he claimed his captain was 'unlucky' to pick up a late yellow card to delaying the taking of a throw in. The booking means Terry will miss Tuesday night's Carling Cup game against Liverpool through suspension, but the feeling is he would not have played in that tie anyway.
TORRES ADULATION: Chelsea fans were calling for the introduction of Fernando Torres long before he was sent on by Villas-Boas. Their loyal support of the misfiring Spaniard is impressive considering his woeful performances since his £50 million arrival from Liverpool in January.
WOLVES VERDICT: Manager Mick McCarthy: "There was no great air of confidence around Chelsea going into this game, but we released that value for them didn't we. Why did we let Terry score from a poxy corner after six minutes, for heavens sake. We salvaged a bit of pride and self respect in the second half, but we contributed to our own downfall in this game."
CHELSEA VERDICT: It would have been easy to show signs of tension after a run of results that have rocked Chelsea and their manager, but this victory could be the launch pad for a recovery. Villas-Boas deserves the time and space to reshape his squad in the manner he sees fit and it can only be hoped his paymasters give him that chance.