Skipper Conor Coady admits Wolves have failed to recover from Raul Jimenez’s devastating injury.
The England defender believes they have not handled the striker’s absence well enough ahead of Monday’s Black Country derby at West Brom.
Jimenez has been out since fracturing his skull against Arsenal in November and, while he has resumed non-contact training, is unlikely to return for the end of the season.
Wolves have remained in mid-table this season having failed to match their previous two seventh-placed finishes.
“It’s quite obvious Raul’s affected us. It was a shocking injury and all we wanted after was his safety,” said Coady.
“Raul’s a world class striker and if you lose a world class striker from your team, it’s always going to affect you in one way or another.
“Now he’s been training with us for a long while without the contact, so we hope he’s recovered safely and can get back as quickly as possible because it will be like a new signing again.
“But it was up to us as players when he got injured to move us forward as quickly as possible and I don’t think we’ve done that as well as we would have liked.
“We’ve lost other players as well, and we’re such a tight-knit squad here at Wolves that the other players we’ve lost have also hit us hard.”
Wolves have suffered other problems this term, with Jonny out for the rest of the year with a serious knee injury, and have failed to match their previous form since returning to the Premier League in 2018.
A 4-0 home defeat to Burnley last Sunday was the nadir of a difficult season with boss Nuno Espirito Santo describing the performance as “terrible”.
Coady told the club’s official website: “The last couple of years, we’ve set ourselves expectations and everybody has seen that we’ve finished in good positions in the table.
“Where we are now is something we don’t think has been good enough and we want to improve.
“If you look at the previous two years, this season hasn’t been an improvement on that. We’re not happy with how the season has gone.
“It’s up to us to try and get back to improving as quick as possible, learn from the mistakes that have happened this season and try and put that right as quickly as possible.
“We’ve got five games left that we want to improve on and we want to finish the season strong going into the next one.”