Lage | On returning to action, Saiss and Ronaldo

Bruno Lage will use the weekend to gauge an idea of which of his players will have the suitable “rhythm” to face Manchester United on Monday after more than two weeks without a game.  

After two cancellations due to Covid-19 cases, Wolves are readying themselves for a return to action at Old Trafford on Monday and Lage knows his players will be doing everything possible to prepare themselves properly. Amongst his squad is Romain Saiss, who faces his final Premier League match before the Africa Cup of Nations, and the held coach gave special praise to the Moroccan before his departure.

On disruptions to rhythm

“We spent two weeks without games, so that’s one concern for me. We come with two good games against Brighton and Chelsea, and also the previous games were very good for us because the team were there, and played well against Man City and Liverpool, hard games and the team were there, we created our chances, played our game and played as a team.

“Now, we stay two weeks without games, some players had Covid, so I need these two days to understand better which players are fit to play. For sure, that’s my concern, if they have the rhythm to play at the level after two weeks without games.”

On what he’s bringing behind the scenes

“I’m just being me. It’s just the way I am. Every day I wake up in the morning and go to work with a big motivation to improve everyone. That’s the spirit every time. Even today, we were there to watch the little details about the games we played one month ago, the games against Crystal Palace and Norwich, the little details and the players are there, 10/15 minutes in a meeting and they can see the things we are doing well, the things we need to improve, and we go to train.

“The relationship and my leadership is like that. Sometimes the people understand when we’re screaming to everyone, this isn’t leadership, but leadership is to find a direction, believe in our work, go and put the boys to work in a higher tempo and try to understand if they come with you or not.”

On the player being willing to learn

“This is the most amazing thing here – the players are every time ready to do different things. The time we spend in meetings to try to understand games, to try to go with the right strategy. That’s why I’m so happy working with these guys because they are there every day. They come every day to training to grow up as a team. That’s what makes me so happy and is why, like I think Ruben said, this is a special place because the people are here, they are working hard to improve the club.”

On Saiss’ final pre-Afcon game

“Saiss is a big impact. What I know is that we’re going to miss a very important player for us, not just for me, Saiss has been an important player for the last four or five years for the club, he’s doing very well, he’s a leader and he’s scored three goals. So, you can see the importance of Saiss for me and for my team.”

On facing Ronaldo

“When you look for a player, the most important thing is what he can give to your team. That’s the thing any manager wants. When I choose the 11, that’s why sometimes for one game some players are more important than others, such as if you want to play with three midfielders, because the other midfielder can do that job the winger cannot do.

“But when you have a player like him who can score goals, I really don’t know how old he is because he started to play very young, and he continued to play at the same level. For sure, he will be focused and motivated on the game to score goals because he’s a machine in that sense, he wants to score and score and score, and he lives and he plays for that. He’s a massive player and I think every team in the world would want a player like him.”