Lopetegui | 'We are in the middle of the battle'

Julen Lopetegui insists Wolves are still in the thick of the relegation battle and must maintain the required energy and application during the final four matches of the season.

Wolves are looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat at the AMEX Stadium and Lopetegui has said his group have refocused and are ready for another tough challenge when Aston Villa come to town on Saturday. The Spaniard also provided injury updates on Nelson Semedo and Chiquinho during his pre-match press conference, with two days now remaining ahead of the second and final West Midlands derby of the year in the Premier League.

On Semedo and Chiquinho news

“He [Semedo] has had a knee problem, it’s a very dangerous problem, and that’s why he’s rested the two days, and now he’s started working with the group. We’re going to see if he’s fit or not fit for the next match.

“It’s true, he’s [Chiquinho] working again with the rest of the group. Of course, he’s so far away for the moment, but it’s a good thing for him because he has been out for a lot of months, so it’s not easy for the players. Always it’s good energy when the players are coming.”

On the reaction to Brighton

“In the same way if you’ve won or lost, you have to refocus on the next challenge you have. Of course, we are involved in a very hard race to be out of relegation, this is a big aim for all of us and we have to put out focus on Saturday’s match against the second best team in the second part of the season.

“We were not happy of course, but it sometimes happens. We analysed inside with the players, and we have to be ready for the next challenge full of energy, full of confidence, because we are fighting for a big aim, a very hard aim, with a lot of teams involved. We are going to be there until the end, so we have to be ready for the next match.”

On quickly switching focus

“If we won or lost, the next day we know we have to improve a lot of things. We analyse the matches, but this is over, the match is over and we have to put the focus on the next challenge. It’s important for us to be able to compete because Aston Villa demand a lot of things from the opponent.”

On a big game against Villa

“It’s a match against a very good team. They have improved a lot, from the first half of the season until now. They are a very good team, good players, very experienced coach. They have a very clear idea and have developed, and after they have the quality to damage you in each moment. They have very big players, so we have to have confidence in our players, our idea, to be able to beat them. We have to be very close to perfection to play against this kind of team.

“Above all, we have to put the focus on our strengths, be confident with our work, and we have to be ready. I prefer to talk about us, our strengths, because we have to be confident in our energy, our strengths, and put the focus to be able to compete with them.”

On Bentley competing with Sa

“He’s working very well and he’s one player more. Each player in our squad has the possibility to play. He hasn’t played because Jose is making a good season, but all the players have to be ready if we chose them. Dan is the same, in the daily work he’s a fantastic guy, he works very hard, he’s a very good mate in the dressing room, so we’re happy with him.”

On full commitment for the battle 

“We need points to achieve our aim. We had this need the last match and Saturday too, in the same way a challenge. It’s about the will to win because this is our aim, and we have to achieve our aim. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be long, and we have to be ready in the good and bad moments.

“We are in the middle of the battle. We are in the middle of the war, like a lot of teams. That’s why we have to put out 100 per cent energy in the next match. This is football so we have to be ready until the end. Saturday we have a challenge and I’m sure the fans are going to understand the importance of the match, we are going to need this help, this environment, this energy in the bad moments. I am sure the fans are going to help a lot in the next match.”