Lage | On bouncing back, Neto's contract and Jimenez

Wolves head coach Bruno Lage has left no stone unturned in the search of a return to form as Watford come to Molineux on Thursday evening.

After three straight defeats, the head coach has assessed honestly in the media, and believes he’s seen the right response from his group following Saturday’s reverse to Crystal Palace. Two men hoping to be involved will be Pedro Neto and Raul Jimenez, who attracted praise from the head coach, with the youngster signing a new deal earlier today and the Mexican maintaining professionalism, despite missing out on the last two starting elevens.

On injuries in the camp

“We just have Semedo and Ki out. The rest are OK and involved in the game.”

On Jimenez hungry to return

“I will inform the players tomorrow about Raul and any player [about the team]. With time, the players understand how I work. Raul is a massive player, an example of a professional, but important players don’t need to play all the games. Every time, in the end, it’s about decisions from the manager – I want to take the best from Raul, and the team.

“He’s an important player, a massive example for the youth, what a top professional should be. I’m very happy with him. Raul it’s easier than people think [to manage]. Every time he’s playing, he works hard, and if he’s not working hard he does the same. Every time he’s to the limit. He comes every day with a smile on his face, playing or not playing.”

On Neto’s new contract

“We want to go in a way where we keep our best players, to build a strong team in the future to fight for different things. Pedro is one of our best players, I’m happy twice because it was his birthday, he has recovered, he had some minutes, and he’s renewed his contract.

“He deserves it, he started his job here with Nuno and I hope I can bring him to the same level or to continue to improve. He’s a good kid, a massive player, and I hope he can stay with us and play at his level as soon as possible.”

On what needs to change after Palace

“We don’t have the profile to play against these teams [Crystal Palace] with body contact. When they are defending, they are very strong, they don’t concede too many chances, they manage the ball very well, and we need to find our style to play. We didn’t play.

“The first 45 minutes we didn’t play, we tried long balls against Crystal Palace, in three or four touches we lost the ball, we didn’t dominate the game with the ball and without the ball we gave them 45 minutes without being aggressive, the balls, the duels. The penalty is a good example, one man between four players and we give a penalty. It’s not about the defeat, it’s about the way we played.

“When you look at the second-half, we created at least six good chances to score one goal and change the game. We were more aggressive. We cannot be afraid to play, we have our style, with the ball for more time. If we have the ball, we are not defending more time. In these games, especially that one, we gave 45 minutes where we didn’t have the ball and were not aggressive, solid and compact when defending.

“That’s why the people said you are mad – no, but very disappointed because we’ve worked eight months and come to this position, so we cannot give 45 minutes, especially at home, to our fans. We need to be there, win lose, and after we analyse the game and move on. 40 points – I don’t want anyone comfortable. I want them to have confidence to continue to play our game with no fear. Let’s improve our game with the ball.”

On facing Hodgson’s Watford

“What a pleasure I will have tomorrow to meet him. They changed a little bit, how they play, I watched two games. They did good results, a good performance against Man United and Aston Villa, so for sure it will be a big pleasure to meet him, but after that it will be 90 minutes where we need to be the team that we are being to win the game.”