Bruno Lage has stressed the importance of Wolves’ Sunday afternoon clash with Burnley as both sides go in search of a crucial three points to help their push up the Premier League table.
The Clarets are in the need of points to help their survival push, while Wolves are closing in on the European spots after results during the past two weeks were kind to Lage’s men, and with just six matches of the campaign to go, the head coach understands that his players cannot give up any more chances if they are to bring continental football back to Molineux.
On heading to Turf Moor with confidence
“It’s an important game because six games to go, we need to go there [and win] because we cannot expect West Ham are going to lose their games, Arsenal are going to lose their games, or Tottenham or Chelsea or Man United – we need to do our roles.
“We are in eighth position and if we need to see the position in front of us, we cannot miss many chances. It’s an important game because now we don’t have too many chances to give up if we want to fight for our goals.
“We’re going to play against a team as well who are going to be fighting for their goals. That’s why it’s going to be a good game because the environment of the team is that and everybody is fighting for their goals.
“We need to go there with a big ambition and confident. Confident because I know the team will give a good answer and confident because it was this team who break the record of my nine wins away in the Premier League, so I go there with a big confidence to play.”
On Neves’ return to training
“He’s ahead of schedule. The plan is to start working with the team next week, and after we can see what he can do, depending on him.
“Daniel [Podence] has some pain on his toe and he doesn’t feel comfortable to work with the ball. It’s a question of when the pain stops he can start working with the team, but for Max [Kilman], we need time because it’s only been 48 hours and we need to understand how serious his injury is.”
On Ki-Jana Hoever’s under-23 outing
“Ki is coming back and did a fantastic recovery. He’s just started working with us this week and he wants to play with the under-23s to have some minutes.
“I hope until the end of the year, if I have the chance to put him in the games, I will put him in the games with no problems because I don’t drop anyone.
“What I want is commitment and competition every day, and if I see anyone – Joao [Moutinho], Raul [Jimenez], Saiss, Ki, Fabio [Silva] or Trincao – not training in the same level, I will tell them to train at the level I want.”
On an unlucky season for injuries
“It’s not an excuse because when you come for the games, we played Tottenham [away] like this and Luke [Cundle] did a fantastic game, and Newcastle, for me, it was a good performance from Luke. Every time he has a chance, he plays. But the thing is, since the beginning of the season to now, it’s been like that.
“In the middle of February, we had a full squad and I was very happy, so we’ve had that since the beginning. We didn’t have Boly for the first seven months, we first expected Pedro in October, but then we didn’t expect Pedro until the middle of January and now it’s April and Pedro is just playing 30 minutes or 45 minutes.
“If they were all available, I think it’d be a little bit different, or maybe not. Sometimes a team has better players and it just doesn’t work like they should do. But the way we work, the way we play, the way we can do things better, I think we can put our team higher.
“It’s hard to get there and the focus is to do our best until the end, to fight for another 18 points, to fight for the position that you can play European football, and the most important thing is that we need to understand how to play our game, because it’s our game which has given us the good things we have done in this season.”
On needing more goals from his forwards
“Not just Raul, but Raul and Fabio because they are the strikers, but also all of our forwards. When you look for what they are doing, they are doing well, but one more goal there and a bigger average of goals in these players, we can do better.
“I hope for Raul because I know him as a man, as a player and he can come and he can help us in these last games. But we’re going to work serious until our last game because I want every time the players to feel we are running for goals and we need to get to the next step to put the team in the next level.”
On Trincao’s gold and black campaign
“In the first seven or eight games up until Newcastle, he was very good and he received a call for the national team in that period, but he was unlucky because he came with Covid, so the first three months he was very good and he deserved to score.
“In the middle, January, February, he was not so good, some good, some bad performances, especially when it’s hard teams to play against when they come with more pressure and no space, and more man-to-man, and he would struggle with that. But that is part of the growing up and understanding the differences between the Portuguese league, the Spanish league and the Premier League.
“He did a good game against Man United, and when he came inside he played a good game against Leeds. But he needs to continue to work the way he’s working, improve the things he needs to improve, because he’s young and has a big future ahead of him.”