Bruno Lage was proud of his Wolves players in the narrow defeat to Manchester City, which he believes was decided on two incorrect decisions which went against his side.
Wolves went down to 10-men just before the break when Raul Jimenez picked up two bookings inside a minute – although Lage argued his striker should not have received the first yellow card, while Joao Moutinho was then penalised for a handball in the penalty area, when replays showed the ball struck his side – despite being reviewed by VAR.
Raheem Sterling dispatched the controversial spot-kick, the only goal of the game, to earn City all three points, but despite decisions going against his players, Lage felt immense pride at the performance against the Premier League leaders.
On sticking to the game plan for the first-half
“Every time I come with that will to win games. We come from a game against Liverpool, we did that, we come to Man City, we know they’re going to have more time with the ball and we defended very well.
“I believe our plan was right. What we did in the first 45 minutes, it was our plan, and we tried to control the game from outside. We held on at the sides two against two, and when we have the ball, try to create our own chances.
“We tried to divide the game against a top team and a top manager, and we did that for 45 minutes, 11 against 11, very well, so I’m very happy.”
On playing 45 minutes with 10 men
“The second-half it was different, we tried to do our best, and I’m very proud of my players because they did everything I asked for, and that’s what I want to see every time.
“They run for the club, they gave everything for the fans, because they support us since the first minute, and at the end, we saw the spaces, I changed midfielders for attackers and we had two chances.
“When you look at what we did here, because most of the opponents in the Premier League and the Champions League play here and they go out with a different result. I wanted to come to Manchester and try to win, but in the end, it was zero points, but I’m proud of my players.”
On the contentious penalty decision
“It’s no penalty for me. That’s why it’s a very strange refereeing decision, and also a VAR decision. Very, very strange.
“I’ve protected the VAR every time. VAR is very good for modern football, I believe VAR can help the referees in the game, but you need to understand that he [Moutinho] put his arm up, but where did the ball touch? It wasn’t on his arm.
“There are rules to say that when the arm is up like this, it tries to create a big barrier, but I’ve talked to Joao and I’ve seen the images and the ball touched here [his side].
“The referee blew for the penalty, then it’s a VAR decision. I protect the VAR, but we need to understand what really happened in the game.”
On Jimenez’s sending off
“The first yellow card, Raul didn’t touch the guy, we had 10 men behind the ball and it was the first fault in their half of the pitch. It was not a yellow card.
“But the second, he knows he cannot do that. I already talked with him. He cannot do that and it’s not allowed for anyone to do that.
“He knows his responsibility. He knows he left the team in a hard situation to play in this stadium with 10-men. When I went to the dressing room, I saw his face and it was disappointing for him.
“But the first yellow card was a crazy decision for me. It’s very hard decisions and one more time cost us a lot. I don’t want to talk about the referees, I don’t want to talk about VAR, but we need to go in the right directions to try to help each other to create a beautiful environment.
“When I come and see top teams, great managers in a beautiful stadium, when you accept the duels to come here and try to play our game, and after if we have 11v11 men, we feel we can do more.
“But I’m very proud of my players, and we move on. All eyes on Brighton.”