Wolves brushed aside Everton 3-0 at Molineux on Sunday with new boy Daniel Podence shining on his first Premier League start for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
The Portuguese, who joined the club from Olympiakos in January, was brought down for a penalty which Raul Jimenez converted for his 25th goal in all competitions this season just before the break.
From then on it was all Wolves as first Leander Dendoncker glanced home a second a minute into the second period, before substitute Diogo Jota wrapped up the scoring after being set up by a wonder pass from Ruben Neves.
Wolves remain in contention for a place in next season’s Europe League after moving up to sixth, three points behind Manchester United – who play on Monday night – while the visitors stay 11th.
How Wolves maintained their push for Europe
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti opted for a change in formation, utilising three at the back with Lucas Digne and the returning Theo Walcott as full backs, however, it made little effect in a first half dominated by the hosts.
After two straight Premier League defeats, Wolves head coach Nuno decided to freshen his lineup up by introducing Podence for his first league start, and the Portuguese repaid his compatriot’s faith with an all-action display.
Wolves made three changes from their loss to Sheffield United with Adama Traore only fit enough for the bench, while there was a first league start for Daniel Podence, signed from Olympiakos in January and Joao Moutinho also dropped to the bench with Leander Dendoncker starting in midfield.
Everton also made three changes from the 1-1 draw against Southampton with Leighton Baines drafted in for just his fourth start of the season, while Theo Walcott made is first appearance since the restart and Gylfi Sigurdsson replaced the injured Andre Gomes.
The forward was involved in the first half’s pivotal moment when his quick feet on the right edge of the box lured Digne into a rash tackle from behind.
The reliable Jimenez kept his cool to dink home his sixth successful penalty in first-half stoppage time to maintain his 100 per cent record from the spot as Wolves deservedly lead at the break. Even though Ancelotti made changes for the second half, they had little impact on the flow of play.
However, one of the players introduced at the interval, young Jarrad Branthwaite, immediately gave away a free-kick near the right touchline, from which Dendoncker cleverly glanced home into the far corner after Pedro Neto’s inviting delivery towards the penalty spot.
Those twin strikes either side of half-time knocked the wind out of Everton and thereafter it was just a question of how many more Wolves would score and it should have been more than just Jota’s 74th-minute effort, drilled home after a sensational 60-yard through ball from the impressive Neves.
Wolves travel to Burnley on Wednesday (6pm) and then host Crystal Palace four days later (8.15pm), before concluding their season with a visit to Chelsea (4pm).
Meanwhile, Everton entertain struggling Aston Villa on Thursday, live on Sky Sports (6pm), before facing a tough-looking trip to take on Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday July 20 (6pm) and then they bring their campaign to a finish with a home clash against relegation-threatened Bournemouth the following Sunday.