Bruno Lage was pleased to have respected the Emirates FA Cup as the competition celebrates its 150th year as his strong Wolves side dispatched Sheffield United at Molineux.
A brace from Daniel Podence either side of a Nelson Semedo finish saw the gold and black secure a place in the fourth round and a home clash with fellow Premier League outfit Norwich City, but despite putting out one of his strongest possible line-ups, the head coach reserved praise for some of the players who came into the line-up, crediting goalkeeper John Ruddy with helping his team to a clean sheet, and striker Fabio Silva, who set up the opening goal.
On victory over the Blades
“It was a good game. Both teams came to play and understand the competition. It’s just one game, so they came with everything and we needed to be in a good way, with a good attitude to play our game, and I think we did that.
“In the first-half, they started the game very well, better than us, but after, with time and calm, we started to control the game, started to create a lot of chances, and the first goal came in a good moment.
“We created a lot of chances to score goals, as did they also, and today if the game finished 5-2, I think it would’ve been fair as both teams created good chances. We could have scored more goals, but today, the clean sheet is all credit for John [Ruddy] because he did some good saves, and I’m very happy because he’s working very hard.
“That is also why Jose [Sa] is in a good way, because he knows John works hard every day, so credit for him, the defensive line were ok, Marcal did the first-half and Leander [Dendoncker] can do that position also and he did well, as did Max [Kilman] and Coady, but credit for John because he did two good saves.
“But what was the most important was that we respect the competition, the players respect the work we are doing during the week and respect our game in the same way, and that’s why I’m happy.”
Job done. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/PdVhgCBlXw— Wolves (@Wolves) January 9, 2022
On utilising his game plan
“The game plan is to understand the game and the system. They play with a line of five, like us, and I’m happy because the two goals come from that.
“Every time we need to understand the opponent, if they come with the big pressure, we need to understand where is the space, the first goal with the good link with Max, Semedo and Ruben [Neves], and Fabio [Silva] attacked the space, so that’s the good things we work on in the training and we are happy when it happens in the games and we score a goal with that.
“Also, the second goal, it means a lot to us for the guys to understand. We work a lot at starting the ball in the half-pitch, we go back, we start with John, we find the spaces, Rayan [Ait-Nouri] cross to Semedo.
“Those are the things and that’s why it’s so important to have time in football to work, to improve the things and I believe in that. I believe in work, I don’t believe in too much talk, that’s why we work hard every day.”
On giving opportunities to his squad
“I’m very happy with them because we are working hard to score more goals and create more chances, so I’m happy with Daniel, because in the last two months, Daniel has done well, so I’m very happy with him.
“Also the strikers, I want more from them and we want to put our backs, Semedo, Ki [Hoever], Rayan and Marcal, in that position to score goals, so when you are winning and when you are doing good performances and when they score goals in the spaces that we say, ‘If you go there, you’ll score goals’, it’s normal and they’ll start to believe.
“I said to the players, I’m not giving opportunities to anyone because they are the main players. Maybe Fabio didn’t play too much until now, but the way he’s working and training and the way he showed me in the games, that’s the real Fabio I want to see in every moment. Maybe now he’ll have more time from me.
“The other guys, we used Marcal as a centre-back, Leander is a main player, Adama [Traore] is a main player also, so just that. I had opportunities to play these players and I’m very happy in the right moment to give a game to Fabio because he understands better the things I want from him.”
A great ovation for this guy's efforts.— Wolves (@Wolves) January 9, 2022
On an impressive display from Silva
“Fabio is a talented kid, but he needs to continue to work and the first man he needs to impress is me, every day during the training, to be more consistent, and the kid is doing that. I remember two or three months ago when we played against Tottenham, it wasn’t a good performance, but this is life.
“They are very young and sometimes they expect more things than they have in the moment, but they need to continue to work.
“To be fair to me, with our results, I don’t have the chance to put him on the pitch, but if he works like he’s been working the last couple of weeks, if he plays like he played in the last two games, then for sure he’ll have more time with us and he’ll score more goals for us.”