Ståle Solbakken is confident talented Wolves winger Bakary Sako will be able to sustain the impressive impact of the early months of his Molineux career.
Sako lit up Molineux in the second half of Saturday’s win over Birmingham with an exhilarating performance, and has chipped in with a healthy number of goals and assists since arriving at the club in August.
The boss and coaching staff have been working closely with Sako to ensure they get the best out of him, and so far it has been reaping its rewards.
“He’s shown he’s a matchwinner and that’s important,” said the boss.
“I think if he can keep these periods of play, it’s only going to be good for us and him.
“He seems to get stronger – he doesn’t have that dip like many foreigners, maybe he will, but so far he looks strong.
“He’s had some small niggling injuries, but he’s played through them, which is good.
“He has this power about him and he’s played every minute since he’s come here, so he’s coped well with the physical side of things.”
Much of the discussions with Sako have centred around ensuring he continues to run at his full back rather than sometimes slow things down, and in that second half on Saturday he showed a willingness to keep attacking at every opportunity.
“Sometimes you wonder if he’s got pace, but he’s so big that he can fend people off,” added the boss.
“We’ve had discussions about him going that extra time against his man and not be afraid of losing the ball in the last third of the pitch.
“I’ve told him other players will cover for him if he loses the ball.
“Maybe because he’s been raised in different culture he feels that losing the ball even in that position is not something you do.
“I think it’s an education thing, but he can gamble – he’s allowed to gamble.
“For periods he used to slow it down, but he is learning not to.
“Players will try mark him out of the game but I think his influence will remain stable because as he’s got his left foot, he will always be dangerous.”
The boss has also been asked about the inevitability of scouts watching Sako given his form over the first half of the campaign.
But he insists the winger is continuing to improve and will not be going anywhere.
“It’s something we have to live with (scouts) – as long as we have television sets, people will look at him,” says Solbakken.
“Him leaving? No, not at all – that’s out of the question, supporters shouldn’t be worried about that.
“There are no discussions about that at all.
“He signed a long-term contract and he’s been here for four months.
“He can only add to his game by staying here.”