Early on Sunday, Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Gary O’Neil worried that his team might not have enough players for their Premier League match against Chelsea.
However, as his team defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Molineux, his concerns were replaced with holiday pleasure.
After Leeds United defeated Manchester United 3-1 on Christmas Eve in 1995, Wolves became the first Premier League team to win a match on the holiday.
“I had a call early this morning from the doctor. Jean Bellegarde not feeling well, Craig Dawson not being 100 percent from his virus,” O’Neil said after Wolves extended their unbeaten run at home to six matches.
“We had to call up young lads to make sure they were available this morning… incredible win with what we had available to us, injuries, and three young lads on the bench against a team and squad the size of Chelsea.
“To get every last bit out of everybody available, and for them to dig in and be together, and not scrap a win but to be comfortable for most of it, is a huge credit to the group.
” I’ll enjoy Christmas Day tomorrow after that.”
In the second half, Dawson had to be replaced due to an injury he sustained when blocking a shot by Raheem Sterling, demonstrating the ongoing problem with injuries.
“It’s a really deep cut on his knee,” O’Neil said.
“He’s all stitched up… every time he bends it hurts a little bit, but the physios and doctors assure me he’ll be okay for the next game which is important to us.”
ranked eleventh Wolves’ third game in six days will take place at home against Everton on Saturday, following a trip to Brentford on Wednesday.