Lage | 'We need to grow up against these kinds of teams'

Bruno Lage was left disappointed with the performance of his Wolves players against Crystal Palace at Molineux as he bemoaned offering the Eagles a head start through conceding two ‘easy’ goals.

After his side produced solid defensive showings throughout the first seven months of the season, the head coach felt Wolves still have plenty to learn having given up five avoidable goals in the last three games to leave the team searching for a victory.

On performance against Crystal Palace

The big difference, especially in the first 45 minutes, was that we gave 45 minutes in advance with the goals we gave them. The first goal was a strange goal. I just saw there were questions about contact between the striker and Saiss, but it’s not an excuse. It’s just that a situation occurred, but it was so simple for Crystal Palace.

“They won the duels, they were aggressive with the ball and when you look for the goals we suffered, it was so easy and it was hard to accept. Even a defence and a team who don’t concede too many chances like we do, we are solid and compact and when you look what happened in the last the three games, the goals we suffered against Arsenal, the goal we suffered against West Ham, and even today.

“West Ham from a throw, one man in the middle of four and no-one was around to tackle the man. Today, the first one was very strange, the second one, one man ran through four of my players and no-one stopped him outside of the box and they had a penalty.

“When you play against these teams, it’s important that we do more of what we did in the second-half. These teams are strong, but we need to move the ball fast with consistency and personality, and we need to win the duels. We lost all the duels, especially in the first-half.”

On struggling to overcome the Eagles

“It’s about when you play these teams who work so hard. We saw that when we played against them in the first half of the season, and it was the same again. We tried to change a little bit, we tried to put guys in different spaces so they don’t have men to do the pressure, but we didn’t find those spaces.

“When you look at what we did in the second-half, it was a bit better, but they are then defending having already been 2-0 up. They are a team hard to ply and we need to know how to play against these teams. When the opponent give us the space, we are comfortable in the space, but every time the opponent comes, win the duels and have the mentality to make it hard to play against them, we have some problems.

“We have to have the mentality to play against them, to play our game. We came into the second-half to have that mentality, if we score one goal, maybe we have time to change the game, but we didn’t score. We must continue to work. We’ll look at that with disappointment because the way we worked doesn’t reflect what happened, especially in the first 45 minutes.”

On improvements to be made

“Every time it’s important because the Premier League is hard and every time is an opportunity to win points. We lost three games in a row and we’re still in the same position, so that shows that we did good since we arrived in this position.

“We know we need to grow up against these kinds of teams. When the opponents give us the space to manage the ball, it’s quite simple, and it’s the profile of the players we have, but we need to grow up and we need to understand how to play against these teams.

They are very hard to play against, they are tough in the duels, they did well and they deserved the three points.”

On being left disappointed

“Every time I’m balanced. I come with calmness when we’ve won and when we lose, I cannot show, and I need to protect what I’m feeling. After I want to talk with more calm with the players. But I was very upset in the end of the West Ham game, but today, I wasn’t upset, I was disappointed.

“The way we worked and what we are doing, especially in front of our fans, they don’t deserve to see us play like the way we played in the first 45 minutes. It’s our job to come here and perform well. We’ve been preparing well for the games and we’re doing everything.

“But after, we need to put our efforts towards the badge and come here like a pack, like a team, and play 45 minutes for the fans, and we didn’t do that today. They were there for us since the first minute until the last minute to give big support for us. I’m not angry like I was after West Ham, but disappointed.”

On returning to Molineux on Thursday evening

“We need to show different faces. This is not just about the three games, this is what we’ve been doing the whole season. After three defeats, we are still in the same position, so it means we have been doing something good.

“But the point is, the only thing I want from my side is that I don’t want anyone to relax. After this, I need to understand that if anyone is relaxing, everyone is happy, everyone is not working for the team or winning games, and that’s what I need to understand to try to choose the best 11 for Watford.”