Wolves boss Bruno Lage says Raul Jimenez “deserves everything” after the striker’s comeback continued with him scoring the winner in Saturday’s 1-0 home victory over West Ham.
Jimenez struck in the 58th minute at Molineux for his third Wolves goal since returning to action at the start of the season following a career-threatening fractured skull suffered in November 2020.
The effort, scoring for a second successive home game, came on the day a documentary made by Wolves chronicling his injury and recovery was released on BBC iPlayer.
Lage said: “It’s so important for you guys to watch the goals from Raul, (but) also, it’s the same level, the way he works for the team.
“The way he presses and works, that’s why I’m happy with him, because he works hard for the team, not just in the offensive part, the defensive part.
“And the documentary came, and now we can understand what he lived during one year. So he deserves everything he’s living at the moment.”
Jimenez said in quotes on Wolves’ official website: “It was a difficult part of my past, last year. But I knew since the first moment that I would be back, and I’m here. I’m enjoying what I’m doing.
“My teammates, all the group, the team, the club, they made this happen, and I’m really happy to be back.”
The Mexico international swept the ball past Lukasz Fabianski from the edge of the box after exchanging passes with Daniel Podence.
In the first half, Jimenez had failed to make the most of a good opportunity as he sent a dinked attempt wide when one-on-one with Fabianski.
Jimenez said: “I saw him (Podence), I open the ball to him, and then I knew that they run to their goal, so I stayed behind, and it was a goal as soon as I hit it.
“I knew it was coming because in the first half I had one chance…I should have scored. 100 per cent. I don’t want to say it was easy, but I should have scored that one.
“I knew at the half-time that I would have another chance, and I would score this one.”
The win was a fifth in seven matches for Wolves, who moved up to sixth in the Premier League, and Jimenez added: “We are fighting as a team and as a family. It’s a big win against a good team, so this is how we want to keep going.”
West Ham slipped from third to fourth as their four-match winning run in the league came to an end.
Forward Michail Antonio, who fired off-target as the Hammers sought an equaliser, has scored only once in his last eight appearances for the club, although he did net twice for Jamaica during the international break just gone.
Boss David Moyes said of the 31-year-old: “I think he needs to get himself in a real good condition. I think he thrives when he is physically in top condition.
“We’ve tried to protect him a lot, we have not used him too many times in European games, because we are trying to keep him fit for the Premier League games especially. Centre-forwards quite often will go through spells when they don’t get goals, and we hope he’s got a few to come soon.
“I think he’s fit, but I think for Mic to be always really at his top, (he needs to be) super fit really. When he is really on it he is a real handful but (at Wolves) he wasn’t really as good as he has been.”