Bruno Lage has examined in detail how Leeds United have altered their game since swapping managers but insists his players must focus on their own job and be brave in possession.
Wolves go into the Friday night clash buoyed by back-to-back Premier League wins but come against a Leeds United side on the back of their own first win under new manager Jesse Marsch. Lage will be without a trio of first-team players for the fixture but believes his squad is growing in resilience and will be ready to battle come Friday evening.
On the team news
“No news. We just have Nelson and Ki out of the game and also Pedro. I think the way they are working, maybe after the international break Pedro and Semedo will be back.”
On Coady’s form
“In the last game, Coady was so important defensively and offensively because he scored a goal like a striker. Defensive is about teamwork. We are defending very well and the line of five are doing very well. The back three are very solid and compact and know how to work together.
“In the end, it’s teamwork. Not just the five, not just our goalkeeper, it’s also the way we press in front, with Raul and the wingers, Fabio when he plays, they are very good in that. Every time for me it’s teamwork and defensively, you can see the real spirit of our team.”
On being resilient
“When you come to a new club and to work with new players, you try to understand the profile of the players and from my point of view, I said to them that we cannot be defending most of the time during the 90 minutes. One of the things to protect ourselves is to have more of the ball.
“We are defending well, but we cannot stay more time with defending, we have to have more time with the ball so we can control the game. We did that in our best way in the second-half against Everton. We controlled the game with the ball and when we saw the opportunities to attack and find the spaces, we attacked.
“That’s the big lesson we take when we play against opponents who come to press, and in two or three touches we lose the ball or if we play long balls, because we don’t have that profile. We play with Daniel and Hwang in front, and when you put in long balls to them, you’re going to lose the ball. We have to find a way to control the game with the ball and if we don’t have the ball, we cannot spend too much time defending.”
On being challenged by other clubs
“That’s why we analyse everything, the same way the opponent analyse everything. For sure, every team has strong things and weaker points. We try to hide the weakest points. But for sure, if they analyse, they will see that, like every team, we are not strong in some areas, but we are strong in others.
“Every team has good things and bad things. We try to hide and protect from the good things we don’t have in our game. One of them is that we cannot play against teams who come with a high pressure and are very strong in aerial duels. We need to find a way to do that, and we want more consistency in that.
“Imagine, for a team like Leeds, especially the new manager had just three games, when you look at Bielsa, the profile of the players is to run for 90 minutes and press high, every time to create a lot of chances to put the ball, every time, in front or back of defenders. But some teams don’t have that profile of players. Every team has their own strategy and way to play depending on their players.”
Did anyone ever think that one day we'd be making an 𝗘𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝗮𝗱𝘆 𝗚𝗼𝗮𝗹 video?— Wolves (@Wolves) March 16, 2022
That day has come.
On how Leeds have changed
“He changed some things. We can see now when they are there to press, they wait a little bit, they have more patience. They wait for the opponent to put the ball in some spaces, and then they start to run and start to press. I think they are a little bit more patience, but they come and in the end they run a lot, they press high to try to win the duels, when they are defending situations one against one and offensive they are in the same style.
“Some players changed a little bit their position, but good dynamic, they want to have the ball, solid at the back, two midfielders every time near the ball, to build up the game, and four amazing strikers. Bamford worked with Carlos at Middlesbrough, Raphinha played against me at Sporting, James was my player at Swansea, so they are good in attack. A strong opponent to play against.
“It’s a motivation for my players. Phillips is a good player, but in that place, I have Joao and Ruben, so they are doing also very well. That’s the challenge. For me, every time, the challenge is to put the pressure to play the way we play against there top players. Big pleasure to see Phillips back in the game because he’s a top player."