Bruno Lage has seen his squad receive a timely boost ahead of their visit to Brentford on Saturday afternoon, with the return of Jonny to full training, as well as the signing of winger Chiquinho.
Although he expects a tough test against a side which caused Wolves plenty of headaches at Molineux earlier in the season, the head coach believes his team can build on the winning start they’ve made to 2022 if the squad continues to be strengthened by the returning injured players and the level of consistency they are currently displaying is replicated throughout the rest of the campaign – starting this weekend.
On the test Brentford pose
“It’s going to be a hard game, so we’ll prepare in the best way because Brentford are a strong team to play against, especially at home. If you notice, every time a team goes there, they play well at home.
“We can say that they are going to be one of our toughest games because it’s the next game. It’s important and it’s difficult because it’s a hard place to play. The same way as when the opponents come to play against us at home, they understand that it’s a hard place to play.
“They are a strong team, the way they play, the way they press, and we need to go there with the mentality and the personality to play our game and to win the game.”
On adding Chiquinho to his squad
“He’s a good player. The club have followed him for the last year and he’s a player for the present and a player for the future. Those are the kinds of players the club should look at.
“But the main point is to continue the way we are working to help the team to improve, our best players stay with us and players recover from injuries.
“We can see now Jonny with us, Pedro [Neto] a couple more weeks and then he’ll be with us, Jordao is with us. For now, the most important thing is to find out who are the players to build the stronger team we want.”
On Jonny’s return to training
“It was very good. The target now is for him to keep training with the team, and then it is to gain confidence to be comfortable. I talked to him today and told him to be comfortable and then when he is ready and he has full confidence, we can push more from him.
“In this case, Jonny comes from a second surgery, so I think he’s the best to understand his body. That’s why, for now, it’s good to give him confidence and give him time for him to express himself and how he feels every day.
“When he does that and after every day in training, one or two weeks with us, we can see if he is ready or not, but not just that, he needs to tell us every day how he feels – if he feels confident and if he feels comfortable with the training.
“We go day by day. Yesterday, he did most of the session, and today, for the first time, he did all of the session, so I’m very happy because we have one more player in our squad.”
On returning players creating competition in his squad
“Since the first day, that’s what I want from the squad. Not just for Jonny, but for Jordao, for Pedro Neto, when they come back, they need to work hard because these other guys have been working hard since the first day.
“I respect that they’ve had a long time without playing and without training because of their injuries, but now, they need to come and they need to show me every day their talents and their ability to compete for a place on the team.”
🐺⏳— Wolves (@Wolves) January 19, 2022
On seeing consistent performances
“For me, the challenge this year is to come with personality to play our game, but with more consistency. The team are doing a good answer.
“In December, we played against Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea in that way, with consistency, and we’ve started the new year with that. A good performance against Man United, Sheffield United and Southampton. That’s what I want.
“The words are now personality to play our game, don’t be afraid to have the ball, and consistency in our performance.”
On Jose Sa’s impressive season
“What I want from Jose, from my other players and for the team, I don’t want them to be the best for just one day. Jose’s doing very well, but what I want from him is the same that I want from all the player and the team – consistency.
“I don’t want him to just be the best for one day, for one month or for one year. The challenge for him here is to take one step at a time in his career, show consistency in his performance and after that, the good things will come.”