Bruno Lage is calling on his players to give more to Wolves’ Premier League cause, despite being pleased with the start to his first season in charge of the team.
The Portuguese has overseen a recent unbeaten top-flight run, which has seen Wolves go four games without defeat thanks to a draw at Elland Road last week, although a win over Leeds United would have seen the club hit a milestone Wolves haven’t reached in almost 50 years.
But Lage believes there is still plenty of improvements yet to be made and insists that he is pushing his players to the limit as he aims to reach the ‘next level’ with Wolves.
On the season so far
“I’m happy, but I want more. That’s what I’ve said to my players every day. We are happy, but we want more.
“Every time I push them to the limits because I don’t want anyone to be comfortable in their position. I don’t want anyone to be comfortable in the way we are, because our mentality is to do more every time.
“Even for us as coaches, even for the players, they need to have that mentality, because I want more from my career. I want to improve what I need to be better at to arrive to the next level.
“I’m happy, but every time with that pressure, I want more from them.”
On a need for points
“It’s so important that we need to conquer a lot of points now, because the winter will be very hard. We have a small squad and maybe we can lose players to CAN [Africa Cup of Nations], and until December, our focus is to win points.
“After that, it’s to try and find players like Hwang, like Trincao, to come and to help us to be better.”
On four Premier League games unbeaten
“We are doing good performances. It’s not about what happened in the first three games, we didn’t score, and we didn’t win, we didn’t have any points for us, but I think we did good performances. Especially the game at home against Man United.
“Sometimes you can do a good performance and you don’t have nothing from the game, sometimes you don’t do a good performance and you win the three points, or sometimes you don’t do a first-half and you do a good second-half.
“I think it’s not important to divide it into periods, because what happened in these last four games is the result of what happened in the first three and what happened in the pre-season.
“The team are in the process to try to play the way we want to play. We are playing in the same system from the past, but we’ve tried to do a different offensive dynamic.”
On players adapting to his ideas
“I’m very happy with the work we are doing here. The performance sometimes is ups and downs, and in one week, we cannot work on everything that we want. But what I want is to be solid. Now we can do this, now I want to increase these details and other details.
“For managers, we want to every time play in our best and in our level. When Hwang come to us, he gives is the goals, but he gives us more inside game that we want, and he scored that goal.
“I want my players to understand that the outside game is important, but also the inside game is very important. If you look at our games, we’re scoring more goals from the inside game, from the combinations, and the two goals against Newcastle are a good example for the way we want to create our chances from inside, but also from outside.”
On having more time on the training ground
“We worked a lot on creating chances from the inside and the outside. We work the offensive moments from outside to our wingers, and the backs to try to create dynamics and to cross, and in the same exercise, the goalkeeper got the ball and tried to score goals from the inside pitch.
“Every time we have a chance, we try to work hard to play the game we want to play. Maybe 80 per cent of our work is going to be in an offensive way, because that is what I want. I believe we need to grow up in that way.”
Putting in the graft at Thursday's open training session.— Wolves (@Wolves) October 29, 2021
On the possibility of reintroducing five substitutes
“In Portugal, we already have that situation, and I will not change my opinion because now I’m in a different position. We don’t have too many players, so if I have five subs to do, all the players will get involved in the game.
“If you are a strong team, you can change a lot. Sometimes the wingers to give more power in front, you can change more midfielders, or sometimes the strikers, so you have more chance to do it.
“If I had five subs to do in the last game, it would have been good for me, because I did two and I was trying to do something different. I tried to change Trincao, but Rayan [Ait-Nouri] asked for the sub. I wanted to change one guy in the front, but Joao [Moutinho] asked for the sub.
“If we change to five, we have more solutions to try to change our game.”