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Dave Edwards: A crucial time for Wolves boss Bruno Lage ahead of the World Cup

With the internationals drawing to a close, we are entering a huge run of fixtures for Wolves.

Bruno Lage, Manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers gives his team instructions during a Wolverhampton Wanderers Training Session at The Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground on September 13, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).
Bruno Lage, Manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers gives his team instructions during a Wolverhampton Wanderers Training Session at The Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground on September 13, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images).

The eight games before the World Cup appear to be make or break for Bruno Lage.

Fingers crossed, the last couple of weeks at Compton – albeit a fair few have been away with their countries – have offered them the chance to rest and recharge, as this is the time to start racking up points and pushing up the table.

In my last column, I stressed Lage needs to be given a bit more time.

He is an excellent coach and I feel he just needs more of a chance to work with his players.

When you look at the turnover from the summer and how late most of them came into the club coupled with the amount of games they have had early on in the season, there was not a lot of time on the training pitch to get to know the new players. But now, you come into an eight-game period before the World Cup where there is only one midweek game.

There is going to be the ability to fine-tune things at Compton, so Lage is entering a crucial period.

Even taking out the Arsenal and Chelsea fixtures, the other six are very winnable and it is a massive opportunity for Lage to get Wolves firing again.

They probably need more than just results to ease the pressure.

The performances need to come with the results as they haven’t been hand in hand too often over the past year or so.

It needs to be that attacking, free-flowing football and the end-product to match. You would love to see Wolves go a goal up and then get that second or third to put games to bed.

It is always hard in the Premier League to do that, but when you look at that quality in the squad, it’s incredible.

It’s the best in my memory and a lot of fans’ memories.

They just need to hit a little form and, make no mistake, it is vital Wolves head into that World Cup break in the best shape possible.

West Ham is first and foremost this weekend, of course, and hopefully we can see Diego Costa involved in some form.

They will perhaps be slightly hesitant given what happened with Sasa Kalajdzic, with him going down in his first game.

But Wolves are not blessed with options. Questions marks remain over Raul Jimenez’s fitness and Daniel Podence as a false No.9 is not a long-term solution.

Lage has spoken about wanting his strikers to get across defenders, and Costa will do that.

It is difficult to imagine him starting, but you want to be looking to get him on and getting those match minutes under his belt, at least.

They need to get Costa in the team to see where he is at and properly assess how much more work he needs before he is at his sharpest.

Training, after all, can be such a false environment when it comes to fitness.

You can do all the running, conditioning and strength work you want, but when Costa is out on the pitch, I am sure his lungs will feel a lot worse than they have for a long time.

They need to give him that test and, hopefully, he passes it with flying colours.

It is down to Costa to be a difference-maker as that’s the area Wolves have fallen short in. They have got to get it right.

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