Lage | On Traore, consistency and West Ham

Bruno Lage has had two weeks to examine Wolves’ performance against Crystal Palace and now believes his players are ready to take on in-form West Ham United this weekend.

Like the Hammers, many of Wolves’ players spent last weekend on international duty but returned earlier in the week and have been working hard on the training pitch, searching for consistency. That aim has intensified after differing performances against Everton and Crystal Palace and Lage has been pleased with what he’s seen in training since that Selhurst Park reverse, particularly from Adama Traore.

On returning from internationals

“Every time we have a break, we don’t have too much time to work, so we spend more time to prepare for the game. Everyone arrived well, some with a good mood, other ones who lost, not so good, but now I think we’re in a good way to prepare ourselves and we prepare very well the game for tomorrow.

“We are aware about the feeling, not just about the travel, but how they feel. How much time they play, if they come with pains or not, if they come with any problems or not, and I’m in the position, because we don’t have too many players, I cannot put anyone in risks just for a game. Raul [Jimenez] arrived yesterday afternoon, so he had time to rest, to recover and he trained today and I’m going to take the best decisions for tomorrow.”

On a fit group

“No-one comes with problems, so this is good news. Marcal’s started training. Him and Bruno Jordao. They can be involved in the game, but for the moment, I trust in Rayan [Ait-Nouri], so I will start Rayan.”

On Traore aiming to better himself

“I would like to see from Adama what he did in the first three games. What I saw in the last two weeks from Adama, because he stayed with us, that’s the Adama I want to see in the pitch. I want Adama to be more consistent, not just game by game, but also in the game.

“He’s the kind of player who, when you have the ball, can do something special. But I want more Adama during the game, not just when you have the ball. He needs to be there more time in the game.

“When he works from outside, he’s very dangerous, he’s working very hard to understand the inside game, he’s doing well, the last two weeks it was very good, and if you remember, the first three games, what he did was very good, I was very happy with the way he pressed, the way he created chances, the way he linked with the players.

“What I want is that and Adama knows he needs to fight with [Hee Chan] Hwang, Daniel [Podence] and [Francisco] Trincao, because the four guys are in a good way, and that’s good for me. I have more solutions and tomorrow I will choose, and I have guys on the bench who can come and help win games.”

On Hwang’s impressive start

“We are very happy with him and he comes with that consistency. That is what I want from him and from my players; be consistent and he can give that to us. We can link the game, he joined us when we are defending, he creates chances, he scores goals, so I’m very happy with these kinds of players because we can see him in every moments, when we are attacking and when we are defending. These are the types of players I like and that’s the way I work to improve my players.”

On West Ham’s midfield danger

“Not just when they are attacking, but also very important when they are defending because they close the pitch in the middle with these midfielders. They’re very strong because it’s not just the attacking statistics and the way they score goals, but they are also strong when they are defending, especially the three midfielders, they are very aggressive in that area to win the ball, with good first touch, to win the transitions with goals.

“We are playing against a strong team. They are doing well, not just in the Premier League, but also in the Europa League, so we need to be on top like we did against Everton at home, with our fans at our back, to give a good performance and try to win the game.”

On analysing the last two games

“What I want from my team is consistency, so it was a big surprise for me [Palace] but we were ready to talk with the players. We played on Monday against Everton, and I think we did our best performance of the season, in the first-half we had 70 percent of possession, we created a lot of chances, dynamic, we scored goals, three points, good performance, and after three or four days, I think we did the worst performance of the season against Crystal Palace.

“We didn’t have the ball, we didn’t create chances, so I think most important is this, we knew what we can do, so we needed to be consistent, and consistent means more of the game with the ball. From my point of view, our profile, we don’t have the team to stay in our box, we don’t have it. No team in the world can press for 90 minutes, high pressure.

“Even if you go for duels, sometimes teams are more aggressive than us, for example what happened against Leeds and Crystal Palace, so we need to control the game with the ball. When we look at the game against Everton, we had the ball, and against Crystal Palace we didn’t have the ball and didn’t have chances. The inconsistencies I don’t want from my players.”

On being wary of the Hammers

“Their midfielders are strong to press and the three strikers in front are runners, so we need to be careful about that. The strategy of them is around that, sometimes you feel they are there not pressed, just waiting to enter in the zone, they are ready to press, to win the ball, and to attack our goal.

“We need to pay attention to that period and, for sure, we are playing against top players, if you give them space to manage the ball, they will certainly find spaces to create chances, so I think it will be interesting after these two games, after Crystal Palace and Everton, what we can do against a strong team like West Ham.”