Notification Settings

Subscribe to one or all notification sources from this one place.


Subscribe to our newsletter to get the day's top stories sent directly to you.

Julen Lopetegui: Wolves still have a long way to go in relegation battle

Julen Lopetegui is looking to keep the Wolves players grounded after the 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool.

Julen Lopetegui (Getty)
Julen Lopetegui (Getty)

A superb performance saw Wolves dominate and take a 2-0 lead within 12 minutes, before surviving a second half resurgence and find a third goal on the counter attack.

Although Lopetegui is delighted with the result and performance, the head coach is eager to keep his side level-headed for the long relegation battle ahead.

He said: “We are happy because we won and we got three important points.

“The players made a big effort, but this is all. It’s only three points – we have not done anything at the moment. We have to continue working hard and looking for the next match.

“We did a very good first half. In the second half they pushed a lot.

“Liverpool is one of the best teams in the world so it’s normal that you are going to suffer.

“After 20 or 25 minutes (of the second half) we recovered a little bit of control, and we were able to damage them more by attacking the spaces.”

Several individuals put in stellar performances against Liverpool, with Mario Lemina and Ruben Neves shining in midfield.

Neves’ 71st minute strike topped off an excellent display and Lopetegui was pleased with the quality he showed against the Champions League calibre opponents.

Lopetegui added: “Good players have to be complete players. In this case he is improving in the phase of play. When he can, he arrives with quality.

“Each moment of the match is different. In the last moment they are taking a big risk and we have a lot of space, so it was easier for us to try and damage them. Sometimes you get it, sometimes not.

“But he arrived with a good mentality, with timing in the box, and it’s important to add quality in this kind of situation.”

Craig Dawson came in for his Wolves debut after making a £3.3million switch from West Ham, and scored the second of the day at Molineux.

Although Lopetegui was full of praise for the centre-back, he was keen to highlight the whole squad and Nathan Collins who was dropped to the bench – and pledged to make changes to the team each week.

He said: “It was important but I prefer to highlight all the team, all the squad. Today was the first match of Craig and he is here because he is going to improve us.

“He has a big experience and he is a calm player, but for me it’s the moment to highlight not only him, but all the players – including some players that did not play today.

“Nathan Collins has been playing a good level with us, but today he didn’t play. One other player played. This is a task about the team.

“The next match we might change three or four and they all have to be ready. This is very important in each squad. I want them ready and able to play in each moment, but when they don’t play they have to be ready to help the team also.”

Meanwhile, Lopetegui expects Hwang Hee-chan to be sidelined for ‘a lot of weeks’.

The South Korean impressed until he pulled up with a hamstring injury in the 39th minute and was forced to come off. The forward suffered the injury as he attempted to sprint down the flank.

Lopetegui said: “It was a pity to lose Hee-chan with a hamstring injury. For a lot of weeks we are going to lose him, that’s why I highlight the team.”

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News