For the first time as Wolves head coach, Bruno Lage declared he has a full selection of players to choose from for Sunday’s televised clash with Leicester City.
That eye-catching statement was delivered during the opening question of Lage’s press conference and was followed with confirmation that Joao Moutinho is fit to return and Pedro Neto may come into contention. The latter is yet to kick a ball this season, and has joined training recently with a group in good spirits after last week’s victory at Tottenham Hotspur, and as the Foxes head to Molineux, Lage is determined to make sure his team don’t rest on their laurels.
On the health of his squad
“Everyone is involved in training, so every player’s fit, and ready to join the team, so it’s good news. No bad news. For now, every player is available, we have Joao, Pedro, Hwang, everyone involved in training. We’ve waited since the first day and it comes in the middle of February.
“Let’s see [with Neto]. Everyone is training with the team, now we need to, day by day, see how he feels, if he feels comfortable, how many minutes he can play, but the only thing is if he feels comfortable in training. It’s a question of timing and we can select him for games.”
On a big win last time out
“It was an important win, especially away, against a strong team. Every win comes with a challenge to continue to win, because what’s the point if you win, and in the next game you lose? Every game is hard here, every game you’re playing against strong teams.
“We came through that game with a good performance, I think we started the game very well, the first 45 minutes was very good, and now we need to continue to work. That’s the only thing we control, our work, the way we train, the way we prepare for the next games. It was an important win against Tottenham, now we should try our best to play again in a good way to beat Leicester.
“Now until the end of the season it’s going to be about character – my character, the players’ character, the team’s character to have that mentality we want. We come from solid training and performances, and we want more victories. Don’t relax with nothing, don’t relax because we have 37 points.”
On changes since the opening day
“It has been a journey for me and my players, to try every time to improve. We did a good game over there, I think we deserved more from that game, but now we are more solid as a team. We’re going to play against a strong team, we can see the example they did yesterday, they are strong, a manager with a lot of experience, and every time it’s a challenge to play against them.
“We are more solid. December and January are a good example – we had consistency in our game, we had personality to play against any team, and I think it’s that. We came from solid training, a solid performance, consistency, that’s it.
“If I’m the first one to relax, the players will find a shortcut, so I don’t want anyone to relax. Everyone with character and big ambition to continue to win, but more important, continue to work the way we are working and play the way we are playing. I will take this during these three months we have in front.”
On Leicester's form
“When you look at their last games, they were winning against Tottenham, and at the end everything changed. Now what they did last night. When you come from a solid performance, four goals, the environment they left the stadium, of course they come with that. Imagine if they lose, it’s different. What they did last night was very good, so we need to be on top and ready to play against them.
“Every team brings a different challenge, systems and dynamics, so it’s a massive experience. The only thing I can say is the players have been amazing because they spend a lot of time working and are there. They want to work, they want to improve. We have a squad that wants to work, and we learn from every game.”
On the Wolves fans
“Since the first day I felt that. I remember when we started to play friendly games and we felt at away games a big support. We gave nothing and the fans already gave everything for us to make a good season. It’s massive, especially when we go away from home, we feel they are there. Every time, we go there to say thank you for the support because they’ve been amazing.”