Lage officially succeeded Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this week, penning a three-year deal at Molineux.
And Richards – who scored 194 goals for Wolves – hopes the ex-Benfica chief can successfully build on the foundations put in place by Nuno.
“It was a surprise to see Nuno go and after that, you worry about how long it will take for whoever comes in to get to know the players and get their style of play across,” he said.
“But you’ve got to be optimistic and hope this will be a case of building on what Nuno already laid down.
“He’s Portuguese and he will know the Portuguese players, so hopefully they can all settle in together.
“And the club have got Lage in early enough to, hopefully, bring in the players he wants. At the same time, he can release players he doesn’t feel will fit into his style of play.
“He’s got time to stamp his mark on the team, so that’s a positive.”
Lage has stated his desire to ‘continue and improve’ what Nuno did over his four-year reign.
He comes in having won the Portuguese top-flight title at Benfica in 2018/19.
“Sometimes change is a good thing for players. Nuno did really well but sometimes players need a change of scenery as much as managers do,” said Richards.
“So, this could be a positive change in terms of style, direction and the atmosphere within the dressing room.
“Those players will want to impress the new manager and it might just give them that bit more of an impetus.”
He added: “We all would like to think it’s been done for the right reason, to get the club in a position to move forward.
“Let’s wait and see – be patient and not too quick to judge.”