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The debrief: Consistency the key to Wolves’ surge

Wolves’ incredible start to 2022 just keeps getting better.

They picked up their fourth consecutive win to start the New Year in Saturday’s trip to Brentford, with three of those results coming in the Premier League and pushing Wolves even further into European contention.

Consistency is key and Wolves currently have it in bucketloads – in individual performances as well as results.

Midfield maestros

Last season Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho struggled to play together.

They are both supremely talented players but their partnership in midfield was misfiring. They were static, disjointed and stepping on each other’s toes.

This season they have been exceptional. Having their roles refined by head coach Bruno Lage, Neves tends to stick closer to the right and Moutinho the left, as they link up with the wing-backs on either flank.

They become narrow when defending and chase down every loose ball, but express themselves when in possession and offer an option to the marauding wing-back.

Then, if the opposition has trudged over to one flank to defend an oncoming attack, they often spray cross-field passes to the opposite side and create an overload for the wing-back and wingers to exploit. The Portuguese pair have been revitalised by Lage and are playing some of their best football with a new lease of life.

Leander Dendoncker also deserves credit for his Brentford performance. He battled for every ball and charged forward to add another attacking threat.

Superb Semedo

Talking of players producing some of their best football, Semedo is currently in the richest vein of form of his Wolves career.

Arriving from Barcelona for big money, there was plenty of hype around the right-wing-back.

He failed to deliver instantly and has taken some time to get to grips with English football as he steadily improved last season.

Semedo then had a solid start to this season but also missed several glorious chances on goal.

Now, he has come into his own in Lage’s system. Depending on the game and what tactical impact the wing-backs will have, Semedo is able to seamlessly adapt.

Defensively he has been reliable and is becoming a difficult player to get the better of, while offensively he is having much more of an impact.

Against Brentford he essentially played as a winger and had a hand in both goals. His impressive form has come at the perfect time.

European charge

When an old rival heaps praise on you, it is a sign that things are going rather well.

Villa stalwart Gabby Agbonlahor comically tipped Wolves for relegation several times in the early parts of the season.

A resurfaced video from September even showed him, rightly, chastising Wolves for their woeful display against Brentford at Molineux.

Now that the reverse fixture has left Wolves four points off fourth in the league with a game in hand, the talkSPORT pundit has had a change of tune.

He claims Wolves are in the hunt for the top four now – and that points to the credit Lage deserves.

Lage has done a sterling job. His players have rewarded him with excellent performances and together they could have a special season.

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