Lage respecting the Emirates FA Cup

Bruno Lage is determined to show the Emirates FA Cup the respect it deserves this weekend and will hope to do that by securing a fifth win on the spin for Wolves.

The old gold welcome Norwich City to Molineux on Saturday in a good place and the head coach is fresh from collecting the Premier League Manager of the Month award, such is their impressive form. Having fielded a strong team against Sheffield United in the previous round, the Portuguese is planning to do the same again this weekend and goes into the game with a fresh group following the winter break.

On playing a strong team

“For sure. Every time, what I want is to take the best 11 for each moment and we will put the best 11 for tomorrow. The [returning] players started working with us, but they are not ready. They will need more time, for this game and maybe next week.

“We cannot see three months ahead, so we have to see it day by day and the things can happen after good things. To win competitions with Wolves, especially here, when you have the best teams in the world, it’s hard, so that’s why the only thing you can control is your work.”

On Wolves’ pleasing form

“It’s about the way the players have been working since the first day. Every day I have seen the team grow up. That’s the only thing we control in this job – the way we work hard and the way we put our players to work hard. After that, the results will come.

“Of course, it takes time, because we need time to work and for the players to better understand my ideas, but now, the team has had the consistency to play the way we want, have the personality to play with the ball, and now it’s about the character of the team and the character of the players, as well as my character and ambition to continue. We still have a lot of things to conquer, and we need to continue to work every day.”

On not looking far ahead

“I believe a lot in solid things, and that is training very well, and tomorrow we’re going to play against a strong opponent and one of the best managers in England. If I’m the manager of the month, maybe he’s [Dean Smith] the killer of the month because every team who play against him, afterwards they get sacked, so it’s curious, but it’s happened in the last month.

“He did a fantastic job at Aston Villa, he did a fantastic job in Brentford, and one more time, he arrived in Norwich and afterwards he’s doing very well. But for now, our focus is on tomorrow’s game.”

On taking a break

“When you’re in this position, it’s hard. I went home, I spent some time with my family, but when they were sleeping, I watched the analysis of our games since the first day, and it was very good. Now we are in the moment, and I showed the best things for the players, for them to understand the moment we are in and what we are doing, with the ball and without the ball.

“We are playing in the line of five but doing it in the offensive way. They can play in 5-3-2, 5-2-3, 5-4-1, some teams change in the middle of the game, and we need to adapt. That’s the massive challenge I have because I need to find solutions to play against top teams, top managers and top systems.

“That’s why I used my break to prepare myself for the second half of the season. I rested, but I like to control everything. The players don’t need to understand the whole, they need to understand their job. But I want to understand the whole so I can speak with them about the specifics that they need to understand. If I control everything, I’m more relaxed and then I can rest.”

On relaying information to players

“When I’m working with the players, I want them to feel the same way as if I was a player. That’s why I never do a meeting or exercise, I spend a lot of time understanding that if I was on the other side, if I’d receive the message from the manager. We want to create this good environment for the people, you need to feel comfortable and happy to do your job.”

On Chiquinho settling in

“It’s a player that the club followed the last year and he’s a good player. He can help now but he’s more for the future. He was doing well in Portugal and the club asked my opinion and decided to bring him now. Every time what we want is to give the chance to them to train with top players, in this environment, and then after the chance to play in the Premier League. It depends on the way they adapt and work.

“He needs to adapt. I cannot ask, with one week of work, him to do the same things Adama [Traore] was doing, especially in the last month. He helped the team a lot. I can’t ask the same things of Chiquinho but he’s there. We have a kid from our Academy Chem [Campbell], I put these kids at the same level because Chem was working with us since the first day and also has the same profile.”