Bruno Lage praised the debut performance of Toti Gomes as the defender slotted impressively into a hard-working Wolves defence to help the side secure a well-fought three points at home to Southampton.
The head coach handed a first start to the Portuguese in the 3-1 victory – who is celebrating his 23rd birthday today – and was rewarded with a showing which belied his English football inexperience, and Lage was quick to heap acclaim to Gomes, as well as his fellow centre-backs Maximilian Kilman and Conor Coady, who celebrated his first Premier League goal netted in front of the South Bank.
On another three points
“It was a very good game. In this moment, against this team, three points, it’s a good moment for us. It was a good performance because in the first-half, it was very hard. The way they played, the way they press, the way they make contacts with our men, they are a tough team to play.
“First, they come with the line of five and then they try to press high. But in the second-half, I thought we were better than them. We created more chances, and I think the victory is good for us. Especially what we did in the second-half.
“We’ll continue to grow and my first words go to Toti [Gomes]. Two weeks ago, he was on his holidays, and he came here and did a couple of trainings with us and when he does a performance like that – he didn’t do any mistakes.
“It was compact, it was solid, with Coady and Max [Kilman], and the first words go for him because what he did, it was very good.”
On coping with the Saints
“They are a strong team. Ralph is doing a fantastic job there, and they know how to play. I’ve spent a lot of time watching them, and they can play a 4-4-2, they can play a line of five like they did in the last game against Brentford and in both systems they press very high.
“But we prepared for the game very well, we created the scenarios in training and if they come with 4-4-2 we were going to play like this, if they come with 5-3-2 we’ll play like this and if they put the two midfielders on the side, it’s very hard to defend, but we did a fantastic job to control everything.
“If I said before the game that maybe in the first game a draw would’ve been a fair result, I think today’s was also fair for me and for my players to say we deserved the three points.”
On Coady’s first top-flight goal at Molineux
“I have two solutions; I put Leander as a centre-back and I change two or three positions, or I put Toti as a defender for his first time, and in the end, I decide to put Toti in the team to continue to do the same, just changing one thing and it was very good.
“Coady is doing very well, he controls the line very well and he helped Max, he helped Toti. [His goal] was a good moment. He’s a good captain, he’s a big leader and he’s a top man. He’s improving the way we are defending and the way we are playing with the ball, so I gave just good things to say about Coady.
“Every time he’s there at training to push the guys to work, and I’m very proud of the boys because they work very hard every day. Every time we want to prepare the games they are there. They try to go with my ideas and that’s why I’m proud of them and that’s why I’m very happy to work with these guys.”
On Traore adding the finishing touches
“When you score in that moment, you feel the game and the three points come to us. I said since the first day, Adama is working very hard, and I said before the game that he’s a professional and he wants to improve every time and he deserves this goal.
“Every time he comes to the game, he goes with that ambition, to score goals. For Toti, for Adama and for Fabio, another 15 minutes of quality, he had a good chance to score one goal.
“I’m very happy with the boys because they work hard and they are playing with my ideas, which makes me proud.”
On the penalty decision
“It was a little bit strange. It was very fast and Rayan [Ait-Nouri] tried to touch the ball, and what I saw on the TV was that the player touched him and it was a penalty, so I think it was a good decision.”