Lage | On returning to the dugout, Norwich and preparing for a rebuild

Bruno Lage is pleased to be back on the sidelines for Wolves following his positive Covid tests as he calls on his players to give their all in the final game in front of their own supporters at Molineux this weekend.

Having missed the trip to Chelsea and Wednesday evening’s home clash with Manchester City, Lage will be in the Molineux dugout for the last time this season as Norwich City are the visitors to the Black Country, and the head coach wants his players to step up to the occasion and finish the season in a positive light ahead of what he expects to be a ‘massively important’ rebuild of the playing squad in the summer.

On returning to the touchline

“It’s good to be back. Since the first day, I had no symptoms, just tested position, so it’s good to be back again for the last two games. Not being part of the action was the most difficult thing, especially special games, as these are the teams we want to play against.

“I dreamed to be there against Chelsea, against Man City, these are the kinds of games we want to play. In the Premier League, every game is special, but these kinds of games are extra special. Being out of the action is not the same. The feeling, as you can imagine, is not the same.”

On missing the last two matches

“It was hard games to play. We are playing in the end of the season with the team who won the last Champions League and the team that won the last Premier League, so it’s tough games and the team gave a good answer, especially in the first game.

“The second one is far away from our image and that’s not the image we want to leave this season. In all the games, we give every time a good image for our players and for our team, but in our last home game against Norwich, for sure, we don’t want to leave with that image that the team gave to the fans, to our supporters at home, at the Molineux.”

On preparing for Norwich

“The Premier League is about that, it’s about the character of the teams we play. We’ve played Norwich twice and we draw and we lose.

“Every game is special, every game is against strong teams and although they are already planning for next season, they already know they will be competing in the Championship, they will come with everything to finish this season in the Premier League with a good image.

“Now it’s about us to know how to play against them and give us a good image also, finishing this year with Liverpool. We want to finish with a good performance at home, and we already have the record of winning away games, but we also want to give a good image against one of the best teams in the world.”

On fighting until the end

“It’s important we finish the season well, especially for the image. The first two-thirds of the season, it was amazing and the last ones, we challenged ourselves and we are not happy with what we did.

“We challenged ourselves and put everyone in February to talk about Wolves to fight for the Champions League and after in the end of March, we fight for the European places, and now we need to end the season in the best way.

“In this moment, any fan, any supporter, any manager looks for what he did in the final third and maybe they will think ‘we could do better’, but it was our staff and our players who did the other two thirds. Football is about that. We cannot forget what these players did, not just this season, but the other seasons, and for now, I don’t want to give any balance on the season.

“We have two games in front of us and what I want is all our energy and concentration to focus on this game. We have points in front of us and we have to finish this season, in the home game, with the image we did since the first day.”

On summer transfer window plans

“It’s very important. It’s massively important. We have some gaps we need to fill and it’s going to be a busy period, but everyone wants the best for the club. Next year, it’s going to also be very hard.

“We have the top six and West Ham in front of us and after we can see some of the teams are preparing big budgets, big transfers to improve their game and if we want to continue at this level we need to rebuild and build and strong team to play in this way and change a little bit the philosophy of how we are playing.

“It’s going to be a hard task, because we need to find the right men, the right player, at the right price.”

On looking ahead to next season

“I never want to look forward too much. I need to find strength and motivation for the guys for the next game. What I want is to wake up in the next morning and to come to work with players that I can see are hungry to grow up.

“The big secret of this season comes from that; I came to watch them working hard every day. That’s why the hours of training, hours of practice and hours of analysing the things are so important.

“We have a lot of good players here, they want to continue to work hard and now the hard task for me, as the manager, is to identify which group will stay here, which players will go and to rebuild the next team of Wolves.”