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Liam Keen debrief: Flat Wolves desperate for new impetus

The final home game of the season fell flat – Wolves are crying out for a refresh.

 Bruno Lage gives instructions to Joao Moutinho (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).
Bruno Lage gives instructions to Joao Moutinho (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).

Some will lay most of the blame at Bruno Lage’s door for the disappointing downturn in form and performances in the final third of the season.

And while the head coach should certainly shoulder some of the blame, it is important to remember some of the issues with this squad that were highlighted last summer.

Although the squad is filled with talented footballers, it remains too small, it’s unbalanced and does not have enough strength in depth.

Against Norwich, ‘flat’ was the apt word. Wolves were given the task of breaking down a team who were ready to sit back in their shape and defend – a task they have struggled with all season. Then in defence the same running theme of the last few weeks as mistakes crept in. Had Teemu Pukki found his shooting boots he’d have notched a first half hat-trick, rather than just one deflected goal.

The second-half performance showed some hope as Wolves settled, looked after the ball better and piled on the pressure. The fact that pressure resulted in an equaliser, too, is more than can be said for most games when Wolves have conceded first.

It was not all bad – it was just flat.

At full-time the players took a lap of honour for what has still been a good season, but one littered with disappointment at what they could have achieved. That lap of honour looked like a goodbye for some players and it might be the right time.

Walking past the South Bank, Romain Saiss cut loose from the pack to stop and wave to the supporters singing his name. He, and manager Lage, have publicly said the defender is set to leave after six years of service.

Unless the lighting has worked against him, Ruben Neves also looked emotional in pictures of him waving to his adoring fans.

John Ruddy starting the game may point towards his departure, while Joao Moutinho and Fernando Marcal are also out of contract this summer.

Wolves will be weaker without those players if they were to depart, but it would give Lage the opportunity to create a squad in his own image. Neves will only leave if the right offer comes in and it is too much to turn down and his departure is perhaps the only one that is irreplaceable.

The age of those other players counts against them and Wolves could benefit from refreshing the squad. For the most part, the Wolves team has stayed the same for a number of years and it may be time for fresh blood.

Lage would need the opportunity to bring in the right players for his style of play and if the first two thirds of the season are anything to go by, it is worth giving him that opportunity.

Regardless of what happens, this summer feels huge for Wolves and could be a turning point. Get it right and next season could be the most special yet.

Get it wrong? Well that doesn’t bear thinking about...

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