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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020

'To have the most productive season of my career in the best league in the world is special'

Ireland and Wolves star Matt Doherty on his dream debut campaign in the top flight and how important last night’s win over Arsenal was.

IN-FORM IRELAND DEFENDER Matt Doherty has had the dream debut season in Premier League football with Wolves, it must be said.

Chelsea v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Wolves star Matt Doherty. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Last night, he scored again — his fourth league goal of the season — as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side beat Arsenal 3-1 at Molineux to move back into the top seven.

The 37th-minute header against the Champions League-chasing visitors came as Doherty’s eighth of the season in all competitions, and made it 2-0 before Wolves pushed on.

And the Dubliner admitted afterwards that the win was the perfect way to get rid of any remaining FA Cup pain following their semi-final capitulation defeat to Watford.

“It’s been difficult since losing in the FA Cup semi-final,” Doherty told the club’s website., adding that it was a particularly bitter pill to swallow on a personal level.

“I couldn’t really get it out of my head for a couple of weeks — I was thinking about it a lot. A performance like the one against Arsenal was needed, to push those thoughts away.

“Now we’re seventh again, and that’s where we want to finish. That might give us a chance of playing European football — depending on what happens in the cup final — and we want to challenge ourselves, so playing in Europe is the next step.

“That’s why Saturday (against Watford) is so important.”

The 27-year-old’s form, both at the back but even more so in front of goal, has been lauded far and wide, as he pops up with headers left, right and centre. 

His excellent efforts at the club were rewarded in February as he signed on with Wolves until 2023. Having first moved to Molineux in 2010, the defender has gone from strength to strength ever since — but 2018/19 has been something else.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal - Premier League - Molineux Doherty wheels away after heading home last night. Source: David Davies

“It’s my first year in the Premier League, so to contribute with goals and assists has been special, particularly considering I had never proven myself at this level before,” he smiles. “I’ve managed to do that, so I’m very happy.

“I’ve got eight goals with a few games still to go, so you never know. It’s unbelievable really – I’ve never scored that many.

“To have the most productive season of my career in the best league in the world is special.”

“We’ve had a great season,” he added on the atmosphere at the top-flight outfit, who were promoted from the Championship last year.

“Maybe our performances against the top six might lead some people to believe that we’ve over-achieved, but personally I don’t believe that we have.

“People are walking around with smiles on their faces, and we just need to make sure we finish it off strongly now.”

Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella are joined by Andy Dunne to get stuck into last weekend’s Champions Cup semi-finals.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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