Lage | 'The players did everything we planned'

Bruno Lage asked his players to pass on the good feelings they gave him on Thursday to the fans in their performance against West Ham United, which they absolutely did.

The head coach had been impressed by his players in the build-up, so was in good spirits going into the West Ham fixture, and his players produced a brilliant performance, which yielded the three points. Raul Jimenez struck the decisive blow after linking up with Daniel Podence, and Lage praised the pair, but particularly how his team handled West Ham and expressed themselves during an enjoyable afternoon at Molineux.

On a solid showing

“I think it was another good performance from our side. What we did in the first-half was very good, we controlled the game since the beginning and when you play against a team like West Ham, you have to be careful about two things.

“First the strategy was to control every time the runners on our backs, especially when we start the game – they have big players who do that very well, the way they attack, they are very aggressive in that situation and don’t lose the ball, especially in the middle, because the three midfielders are very strong, doing that king of pressure in the middle. They are very fast to go in the transitions and all the players did everything we planned, so I’m happy.”

On what he said pre-match

“A few minutes before the game, I said, ‘What I want today is very simple, give the emotion for the fans, the same feeling they gave to me on Thursday – I went home very happy, so today I want you to do that inside of the pitch and pass that emotion to the fans because football is about that.’

“We cannot forget this team beat Liverpool and is doing well in the Europa League. We prepared the game. Today it was very good, and we deserved the three points.”

On what went well

“We needed to find different spaces and we found it. The way Saiss and Max found the spaces to Podence or Hwang, and how Ruben and Joao control the game with the ball. Then we needed to press in a way so they don’t run on our backs. If you look at the way they score goals, they are very dangerous, and you need to be careful.

“We controlled everything. We made West Ham run for 45 minutes because we had the ball 65 per cent. The performance came from what we did in the first 45 minutes.”

On Raul’s special moment

“I’m happy with him. He’s a lovely guy. He deserves everything that happens now in his career. Even now we can see the documentary about him, what he passed in the last year, and he deserves everything.

“We started the goal from the goalkeeper Jose Sa and that’s the dynamic I want to create in this team, and that’s the way we need to play with the ball, so we can control more of the game. After one year waiting, working hard, but I’m very happy with the whole team for the goal. Two or three hours finish and put your mind for the next game against Norwich.”

On continued progress

“I’m happy, but I need to move on. What I know now is we have 19 points and every time it’s points. I said to the players and everyone in the club, don’t look at the table, I didn’t look at the table when we started the season with three games and no goals and no points, and I won’t look at the table now. What I want is points because the winter is very hard, tough games, and what I want is points, points, points for us.”

On the search for consistency

“We’ve spoke the last few weeks about consistency, and what we did against Everton and Crystal Palace, and we need to find a balance. We cannot come from a good performance to a disappointing performance. We did a good performance, created a lot of chances, scored a beautiful goal and I think we deserved the three points.

“Everything depends on the players, they are working hard with commitment, the time they spend with us to work and to improve. That’s the thing, this is teamwork, I’m working hard if they are, and we are together in this challenge to be better every day.”

On Podence’s performance

“Daniel is an important player for us, especially in the first games when he came from outside to help us to change the game. Today I decided on him. I’m very happy with the four guys, Adama came inside and did very well, so this is the real Adama. It’s a big pressure for the players, competition for places, and after it’s my decision to choose the best for each game.”