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‘Belief is key’ in survival battle says Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui

Julen Lopetegui has urged Wolves’ players to believe they can beat the drop as he prepares to start work in earnest.

New Wolves head coach Julen Lopetegui being unveiled in front of the press (Getty)
New Wolves head coach Julen Lopetegui being unveiled in front of the press (Getty)

Members of the first-team squad not away at the World Cup will return to Compton Park over the next few days to begin preparations for a crucial second half of the season.

The period will be vital to new boss Lopetegui and his coaching staff, as they run the rule over players and begin efforts to transform the fortunes of a team sat bottom of the Premier League, four points adrift of safety.

Lopetegui believes the first challenge will to be restore confidence after a demoralising start to the campaign, which saw Wolves win just two of their first 15 matches.

He said: “The key message (to players) is to believe in yourself, now, and convince them that we are able to change this situation.

“It’s going to be a hard task but it’s going to be a possible task for sure. We have to not speak a lot, and do our work on the pitch, try and adapt quickly to my way of playing. I also have to adapt to the players. We have to do both.”

Preparations for the season’s restart will include a warm weather training camp in Marbella. Lopetegui will have every member of his squad available over the period except for Jose Sa, Ruben Neves, Matheus Nunes, Hwang Hee-chan and Raul Jimenez, who are at Qatar 2022 with their respective nations.

Wolves resume their league season away at fellow strugglers Everton on Boxing Day.

Lopetegui, who last week declined to reveal whether his two-and-a-half year contract includes a break clause in the event of relegation, insists he is not thinking about failure.

He said: “I’m not thinking about relegation. I am thinking about winning the next match. This is the first thought, to be positive and altogether. I prefer to be positive, not negative.”

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