Bruno Lage has praised the impact his defensive trio of Conor Coady, Maximilian Kilman and Romain Saiss and goalkeeper Jose Sa have made this season ahead of the visit of Liverpool to Molineux.
Wolves go into Saturday’s Premier League clash with the title-chasers off the back of three clean sheets in a row, having not conceded a goal for almost a month, but with the Reds having scored 43 Premier League goals this season – the most in the top-flight – the quartet will have their work cut out this weekend.
However, the head coach has stressed how the impressive defensive record his team has and the goal tally which needs to be improved is down to the whole team working together at both ends of the pitch.
On three clean sheets in succession
“It’s not just about the back three, but the balance throughout the team. That’s why I’m happy, because we work as a team.
“The last goal we scored we started with Jose [Sa] and we are doing clean sheets because of the important work of the strikers also. This is how we work – teamwork every time.
“But if you look at what Coady, Max [Kilman] and Saiss are doing, we are very happy with them. Especially what they did against Burnley, they started with two top strikers and after they changed for different ones and we adapt very well because we didn’t concede chances for them.
“They are also very important in the way we are playing, they manage the ball, so I’m very happy with the work of them.”
On the test Liverpool pose
“They know us well, we try to understand their game also, and it’s going to be a tough game. When you look at what they have been doing in the last four months, just one team have won against them – that was West Ham. Then in the next week we best West Ham at home, so it’s going to be a good game.
“Both teams have good dynamics, they play in different systems, so that’s the kind of things and these are the kinds of games we want to play. We are very happy to play in that game I think we are strong in this moment.
“I don’t know if they’re the best [team in the world], but they’re among the best three or five, for sure. The manager is there, they know the system, the players are there, they know how to play, they play every time with high intensity.
“It’s very hard to play against them, but I think we have our chances and that’s why I’m proud, especially for my players, with how we have gone to these 14 games so far. This is what makes me happy and confident for tomorrow.”
On Mohamed Salah’s goalscoring form
“Whether he’s the most in-form or not, he’s a top player. Not just what he’s doing this year, but across all of the years, it’s very hard to play against him.
“He’s very fast, he’s very smart, he finds the right spaces, so we need to pay attention to him. When you look for the three strikers, it can be him, Mane, Jota or Firmino, they know how to play together and they will create a lot of problems, for sure, but we will be ready as we also have our strategy to create problems for them.”
On Wolves going under the radar
“I don’t know whether [recognition] is important or not. The most important thing is me and the players, we believe in our work. It’s about the moment. That’s why it’s sometimes better to work without the noise around you.
“In the beginning, we had three games with no points and no goals, but we continued the same way because we knew the pathway that we wanted to do it with the team and right now it’s the same.
“We’ll continue at the same level and that’s what I want from my team – consistency. Every time, we’ve got to try to be relaxed, calm and try to improve our team every time. It’s not the position, but it’s the points we have in the moment.”
Focus turns to Saturday.— Wolves (@Wolves) December 2, 2021
On geeing up the crowd
“It’s not for me, but for the players. We had around 65 or 70 per cent ball possession, we create our own chances in the way we needed to create because Burnley defended very well and very hard.
“They came with the consecutive good games, they drew with Chelsea and they don’t concede many chances. But I asked for support for the players to try to give them more motivation and more support because I felt we could win the game. The way we finished the game we were there and we were there with the support of the fans.
“I remember I said after the first three games that we gave nothing to them but they were there for us. The fans understand what we are doing and understand we are preparing for the future, and I think, bit by bit, they also understand a little better our game, but I’ve had good support from them since the first day.”