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Wolves v Burnley preview: Bruno Lage has full faith in Leander Dendoncker

Bruno Lage has given his full backing to Leander Dendoncker with the midfielder set to replace the suspended Ruben Neves against Burnley tonight.

Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker (Getty)
Ruben Neves and Leander Dendoncker (Getty)

Neves picked up his fifth yellow card against Norwich on Saturday and is serving a one-game ban.

Paired with Joao Moutinho, Neves has impressed in recent weeks and will be a big loss to Lage’s side.

Dendoncker has had to settle with cameo appearances off the bench in the last few games and last started away to Leeds more than a month ago.

But Lage is adamant that the Belgian coming in for Neves is not an opportunity, as he already holds him in the same regard as his midfield counterparts.

Lage said: “For this guy it is not an opportunity because he is a talented player.

“Ruben and Joao are playing well because Leander is a top player.

“I am very happy with him and he will play. He can do both positions. That’s the thing I want, I have three top players in midfield and I want that more in other positions.”

When asked if Dendoncker can step up to replace Neves, Lage added: “Don’t put it like that. Don’t put the other two in front of Leander – that’s why it’s not an opportunity for him. It was different when Marcal was playing and Rayan got his opportunity, for Leander it’s not an opportunity.

“He will play like he has played the other times. He gives me different things with the way he arrives in the box and can score goals.

“Don’t put it him at that level (of someone waiting for their chance), I put him in the same level as the other two (Neves and Moutinho).”

Burnley arrive tonight struggling in 18th but with some renewed confidence after going unbeaten in their last four Premier League games – which includes picking up a point away at league leaders Chelsea.

Sean Dyche’s side also have a good recent record against Wolves, winning their last two, and Lage believes it is key that his side impose their style on the visitors.

He said: “We are playing in the same system but with a different style and every time I want us to try and play our game.

“The opponents understand if they give us the ball we can create a lot of problems.

“I also need to be ready because the opponents come with a big energy to press us.

“Look at what they did against Chelsea. The same system but they came with a big energy to press.

“We’ll try to play our game. The challenge will be for both managers to put their ideas on the game. They have their own style.

“The first time I played them was when I was assistant at Sheffield Wednesday and I have worked with some players that played with him (Dyche). I know very well the way they play and the way they work. For sure, it will be very hard.

“He (Dyche) has a lot of experience, but also look at the squad and the quality they have, especially the strikers. Usually they play with two but they have different players with different profiles.”

Opposition view

Sean Dyche says Burnley’s impressive record against Wolves will count for little on Wednesday night unless his side are ‘on top of their game’.

The Clarets, bidding for their first away win in the Premier League this season, have lost only one of the two sides’ previous 10 encounters stretching back to 2012.

Dyche said: “Results against teams don’t guarantee you get the next one, but I think we have had a very good record against Wolves.

“We’ve mostly played well against them and we’re going to have to do that again, they’re having a decent season.”

Burnley striker Chris Wood notched a first-half hat-trick in a 4-0 win on his side’s visit to Molineux last season.

Dyche added: “We went about it in the right manner. We took the game on from the first whistle. We know we’ve got to do that.

“They’re a good outfit Wolves, they have been the last few seasons and now it seems they’ve found their feet and are having a strong season so far, so we know we’ve got to be on top of our game.”

Dyche said his players are champing at the bit after Sunday’s scheduled home game against Tottenham was postponed due to heavy snow at Turf Moor.

“There’s a fair chance that it’s the same team that we were going to put out because we like the team we thought were going to go out and play,” he said.

“We’ve trained very well today, an extra training day if you like, so we’ll be ready to play that’s for sure.”

Defender James Tarkowski and midfielder Ashley Westwood will both sit out one-game bans, with Nathan Collins and Jack Cork expected to step in. Striker Ashley Barnes (thigh) is still out.

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