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Nuno keen to keep building as Wolves crank up top-four heat

Wolves 1-0 Bournemouth

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Net gains: Raul Jimenez celebrates heading in the only goal in Wolves' victory

Net gains: Raul Jimenez celebrates heading in the only goal in Wolves' victory

PA

Net gains: Raul Jimenez celebrates heading in the only goal in Wolves' victory

Raul Jimenez underlined Wolves' Champions League credentials after a gritty win over Bournemouth.

The striker's 15th Premier League goal of the season earned a 1-0 win and delivered another blow to the Cherries' survival hopes.

Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves sent a warning to Chelsea and kept pace with Manchester United to record their second win of the top flight's restart.

They remain sixth, level with United after their own win over Sheffield United, but closed the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to two points.

If Manchester City's two-year ban for breaking Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules - currently under appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport - is confirmed, the team who finishes fifth this season will qualify for the Champions League.

"The first half was tough and both teams were not able to play. Defensive organisation was very tight and the space was not there," said Wolves boss Santo.

"It was a poor first half in terms of football but in the second half we managed to create a couple of chances. I think we deserved to win. The boys worked very hard and another clean sheet is important for us.

"It's about building and creating solutions going forward. Now we have to rest and on Saturday we have such a tough game (Aston Villa) so we have to prepare."

Bournemouth can only dream of the heights of their opponents with their five-year stay in the top flight looking increasingly precarious.

The Cherries are in the relegation zone on goal difference but face Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City in four of their next five games.

Bournemouth defender Adam Smith claimed: "It's the most difficult time of my career. In the losing streak, it's difficult to get that momentum. We just need that bit of luck.

"Once you're down there, it's so difficult. We just have to keep going. It's a must-win game next, I know we keep saying that, but games are running out and it's tight down there."

They began brightly enough with Philip Billing forcing Rui Patricio to scamper off his line.

Two wild Ruben Neves efforts were the best Wolves could muster in response at Molineux.

It was a slog, with Adama Traore restricted to one lung-busting run which was crudely halted by David Brooks, as Bournemouth kept it tight.

Traore did go close when he shot over from the edge of the area in first-half injury time but there was little to suggest a breakthrough would come.

Nuno's side are also on the brink of reaching the Europa League quarter-finals this term and demonstrated their class to find the opener on the hour.

Matt Doherty fed Traore and the wideman slung in a delicious cross for Jimenez to head home.

Bournemouth wilted in the heat and had no response.

Belfast Telegraph