Lage excited for the business end of the season

Bruno Lage says it’s a “privilege” for Wolves to having something to fight for at this stage of the season and is going to do everything in his power to prepare the group to achieve its goals.

Wolves head to Newcastle United on Friday night two points behind fifth place in the Premier League, and they do so in a positive frame of mind after victory over Aston Villa last time out. Lage has examined the run-in, against teams with plenty to fight for at the top and bottom of the league, and is pleased Wolves fall into that bracket, with the hope of European football remaining in the old gold camp.

On the atmosphere in the camp

“Every time it’s normal. It’s better when you win games, but the way we work, and the way we come for training and the environment, every time it’s a good level. We are not putting our head down when we are losing, and we are not with a big happiness when we win.

“It was a good week of training, and I said it in our meeting, because one more time we prepared for the game very well. They did everything we needed to play at a good level tomorrow and that’s why it was a good week.”

On the business end of the season

“I go every time to the game, thinking about winning. Tomorrow we’re going to do our best to win three points and put us in the higher position, with more points. When you look at the end of the competition, maybe in the last games we are playing Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City, what I want is to arrive with goals for us, to fight for our best position, to fight for more points, and to fight for a place that can give us European football in the next year.

“Everything can change so quickly, the mood of the players, the performance of the players, you can miss important players, so until the end, that’s why it’s so exciting for us.

“We’re going to have hard games to play against because Newcastle, Burnley and Brighton are in a position to win games, and after Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool need to win games to win the league. It’s a privilege for us that we have goals in front of us.”

On trusting his whole squad

“We work everything with every player. I want everyone ready and fit to play at every moment. After, it’s about them, the things they show me in training, after it's so easy for me to take decisions. When we don’t have one, the other one is ready to do the same thing.

“A big pleasure I had from the last game was without Ruben, Leander and Joao did everything we needed, with the right plan and the right performance, to dominate the way we dominated, especially in the first 45 minutes.

“We’re going to play against a strong opponent, the performance they did against Tottenham didn’t reflect the result – they did very well, they scored the first goal. Our players are at a good level, I trust in everyone, and now it’s up to me to find the best strategy, the best system, the best game plan to play tomorrow.”

On injuries in the camp

“Semedo started training this week at a good level. Ki also, but in four trainings, he did two with the team, so maybe after this game he can be ready to play. Ruben out – until today, we didn’t have any news.

“At the beginning, when we knew what happened, it was serious, but now it’s not as serious as we expected. Let’s see what happens with him until the end of the season, if he has time to recover and play some games for us.”

On Fabio taking his chance

“It wasn’t because Raul was out. I already had in my mind, Raul went to national team and came one day before. The first game against Aston Villa Raul didn’t play and I chose Hwang to play as a striker. It’s easy for me to say that I had it in my mind.

“Tomorrow we already know Fabio’s going to play and I hope he plays at the same level, he continues to work hard when we are defending with a high pressure, and with the ball creating more chances and you never know, to score goals, that’s also his job.”

On Newcastle changing since the last meeting

“It’s easy to see how they changed, with the players they brought in January. I can see a left-back, a centre back, one top midfielder, a striker, so they changed a little bit. They are doing solid steps to come from the position they were at the end of the year. Now, they are more solid and maybe they need three or four points to continue in the Premier League.

“When you look at the performances they did, they know how to play, how to do it, so when you look at a team with top players and a manager with a lot of experience in the competition, you can see tomorrow’s game is going to be hard. They want to finish the season to start to prepare for the next one.

“I think next season will be a big challenge for us because we can see the top six, plus West Ham and Wolves, but behind Wolves are teams willing to invest a lot like Aston Villa, Everton, Newcastle, Leicester – they are ready to invest, improve and fight for competitions. Now, it’s a challenge for us, to find, create and build the right team to fight against all the teams in the Premier League.”