If we have got any designs on staying where we are, then this is a must-win game, said Mick McCarthy whose side face a crucial test of their resolve again this weekend.
“I’m not trying to add any pressure but there’s no dressing it up,” he adds.
In fact those words were uttered just over five years ago on the eve of the visit of bottom-placed Championship side Southend.
Wolves were seventh in the table having just lost at Southampton. They were two points behind Plymouth and McCarthy clearly didn’t need a stutter to become an almighty wobble.
They got the win. And six months later they were in the play-offs.
You see, ‘must-win’ games are never ‘must-win’. There’s always another day – unless you happen to be Steve Bruce, who was sacked on Wednesday night.
The Black Cats head to Molineux on Sunday reeling on the back of one win in eight league games.
The “Bruce Out” calls reached a deafening crescendo after the home defeat to Wigan and, as is often the case, the fans got their way.
McCarthy, on the contrary, looks as safe as houses.
You’ll find him safely tucked in behind the likes of Steve Kean, Andre Villas-Boas and Owen Coyle at around 12/1 to get the boot.
One of many things in McCarthy’s favour is his team’s ability to pull off the unexpected just when they need it most. Forget the wins over Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool last season.
Either of their deadly double over the Black Cats last season were as vital as anything in McCarthy’s five years in charge.
A year ago they met Sunderland at Molineux on the back of four straight defeats.
They were five points adrift of safety in second-bottom but edged a five-goal thriller. Then in May Wolves headed up the A1 just a point clear of the drop zone.
But with Blackpool facing Wigan that afternoon, failure to land the three points would have dropped them in deep water.
They ran out 3-1 winners and the rest is, erm, history.
If you want ‘must-win’ then nothing was as big as Burnley at home in the aftermath of McCarthy’s ten changes at Old Trafford.
A 2-0 win registering loud and proud that after all the criticism, the slurs, the shaking of heads and the monstrous headlines, McCarthy had got it right.
Must wins are two-a-penny. Wigan, just a fortnight ago, was ‘must-win’. Swansea before it. That first season in the top-flight the calendar was littered with them.
There was the home clash with Bolton in December – won courtesy of an off-side Jody Craddock goal.
Or who could forget Burnley and West Ham away?
McCarthy’s support from Steve Morgan and Jez Moxey has been unwavering throughout these last three months of struggles, just as it was last season and the ones before.
“The one thing about this team is that it always has got a fighting chance of winning games,” said Jez Moxey on Radio WM before the recent defeat at Everton.
“We had some fantastic successes last season against teams that no-one gave us a chance against.
“You have to have a pretty thick skin to be a football fan to be honest because there are huge ups and downs and the same applies to the manager.”