Leander Dendoncker knows the unpredictability of football gives Wolves great hope in being able to overcome Manchester City on Tuesday evening, despite the great form the hosts find themselves in.
The Belgian, who has been deputising in defence during Wolves’ own five-game unbeaten Premier League run while Willy Boly has been on the sidelines through injury, has looked back at his team’s win over City in the top-flight last season as an example of what could be achieved, while understanding the challenge which faces them this week.
On the upturn in form during February
“It’s been going better and better lately. Also, in terms of wining and taking points, which has been really important for us because we were in a tough period a couple of weeks ago, but with these last four games, we’ve managed to climb in the rankings and look upwards.
“I hope we can keep doing that, but it won’t be easy because we have some really tough games coming up. We just have to keep trying to play the way we have been playing these last few weeks, and then we’ll see.”
On facing Manchester City
“They’ve been amazing this season and I think everyone knows that. They have great players, a great team, and even if you see their bench, it’s unbelievable.
“It’s so easy for them to rotate and at the same time, not even losing quality, which is really rare and I think that’s their strength because they have a lot of games, but they have a lot of players as well.
“As you see, they always rotate, especially in midfield and up front, but I’m not sure about the way they will play tomorrow, but the plan for them is always the same; have the ball and not give their opponent the time to play, so they press up really high.”
On City’s current 20-game winning run
“It’s really hard to keep going. I think Liverpool kind of went that was last season, so it takes quality, it takes attitude and it takes everything.
“It’s really hard to keep doing it and keep confirming week after week how strong that they are, and that’s what they do.
“They have a philosophy which they have had for a couple of years under this manager, and they really stick to that plan and they are really convinced about the way they play and the way they do things, and I think that’s what makes them really good and hard to stop.”
On overcoming the league leaders last season
“We will have to be really well organised and then hopefully we can get some counter-attacks which we managed really well last season. We have to try to do the same, and then see what happens.
“It’s football and in football, everything is possible. We won there last season, so why not this time?
“Obviously, we know it’s going to be really hard, because they are a very good side, but it’s football and we have to try and figure something out.”
On his season so far
“The last few weeks I’ve been playing in defence while Boly has been injured which is not my natural position. Boly is coming back now, which is good for me because it might mean that I can play back in midfield again, but of course that is up to the manager to decide.
“When I was in midfield, I think I should have scored about four or five goals already this season, but I still haven’t scored yet, I’m aware of that, and it’s something I need to work on. But maybe once I’ve scored the first one, the others will come quicker after.
“But it’s important to always think about the team first and not personally, so let’s just hope we can keep on going as we have been the last few weeks.”
On having Jimenez back in training
“It’s good to have him back, but the most important thing is that he’s ok and his head is ok. His head looks good and he feels good, and for us, it’s good to have him almost back, because he’s still working separately. But I think the fans are waiting for him, we are waiting for him and it will be good to have him back.
“It was not easy because we all saw and we all heard the noise of his skull, because there were no fans in the stadium.
“It was hard to deal with, because you saw the images and then you saw them again, and you always get reminded of what happened, but he managed to get out not too bad, which is great for him and for his family. Health is always the most important thing.”