Nuno Espirito Santo fears football may never recover if the sport cannot curb the escalating coronavirus crisis.
Wolves booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday night and the story of their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace should belong to Adama Traore, his devastating performance, and his first goal in 11 months.
Instead, as a fog hung over Molineux, the clouds continued to gather over football’s viability in this current climate.
Traore will hope this marks the resumption of more normal service, too. He settled this game with a trademark run and a ferocious first-half finish.
And so Wolves move into the fourth round for only the third time in the past nine seasons. The omens are good – the last time they made it this far they reached the semi-finals.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile, exit at the first time of asking for a second-straight season. Hodgson’s side failed to register a shot on target and his team selection – Palace made nine changes, Wolves just two – suggests he won’t lose much sleep over a slightly less congested calendar.
‘We lost to a wondergoal – we’ve been a bit unfortunate with those recently,’ Hodgson reflected. ‘But apart from that, especially in the second half, we played some good football… we didn’t unfortunately create enough concrete goalscoring chances to get back into the game.’
Palace now await news on an injury to Mamadou Sakho – he went off at half-time after feeling a ‘strain in his left thigh.’
By then they were 1-0 down. It could have been worse but for some wayward finishing from Fabio Silva. Early on, Pedro Neto curled a delightful cross on to the head of the 18-year-old seven yards out. Somehow, he managed to miss the target.
Palace went straight down the other end, where Michy Batshuayi clipped a cross to the back post for Eberechi Eze. But he, too, fluffed his lines – blazing well over.
Suddenly this tie had life. Traore cut inside his man and fired past the near post; right back Nelson Semedo followed suit and stung the palms of debutant Jack Butland from distance.
So by the time the Wolves opener arrived, 10 minutes before the break, Palace couldn’t say they hadn’t been warned. Traore was given too much space to come inside, and too much time to pick his spot.
From the edge of the box, he unleashed a left-foot rocket which flew beyond Butland. It was some way to end 33 games without a goal.
After half-time Silva missed another glorious headed chance. From a corner, the teenager muscled himself into space but was again wasteful.
Leander Dendoncker did hit the target after more fine work from Traore down the right. But his effort was well saved by Butland.
Palace pushed for an equaliser but rarely looked likely to make him pay. The question now is what lies ahead – for Wolves, the fourth round and football as a whole.