Wolves comment: Dawn of a new era is more evolution than revolution

Wolves’ appointment of Bruno Lage as their new head coach is designed to be an evolution rather than a revolution.

Bruno Lage (Photo: Wolves)
Bruno Lage (Photo: Wolves)

The former title-winning Benfica boss was seen as the right man to build on the Portuguese-heavy culture developed over Nuno Espirito Santo’s tenure, as opposed to starting things from scratch.

And what Lage said in his pretty short yet effective first Wolves interview completely reaffirmed that train of thought.

The 45-year-old, most notably, outlined his desire to ‘continue and improve’ what Nuno achieved during his four-year spell at Molineux.

Make no mistake, while a squad refresh is needed, Wolves intend to continue on the same path.

Of course, we won’t truly know what Lage is about until the new season gets under way.

Even then, a proper picture won’t be formed until around 10 games into 2021/22 – he deserves time and patience.

But you can see why he has been brought in.

First of all is the fact his agent, like Nuno, is Jorge Mendes – who Wolves chairman Jeff Shi recently hailed a ‘good friend’ and the club will carry on working with.

Lage will have a decent grasp of the group he is inheriting as well.

Record buy Fabio Silva, for example, was coached by Lage’s younger brother Luis Nascimento – set to come in as part of the backroom team – at Benfica.

Wolves’ new chief is bound to have come across Daniel Podence, Pedro Neto and Nelson Semedo – although they were playing for other clubs in Portugal – while he was coaching in Benfica’s youth ranks, too.

It all links together nicely, on paper at least.

Not everyone will be feeling all that confident about Lage’s arrival, given this is just his second managerial gig.

But owners Fosun can be given credit for identifying their man and getting him on board without any massive hiccups.

Jeff Shi moved quickly to get his man (AMA)

Mendes being in the background helps, but you don’t have to look far to see what a tangle getting a new gaffer in can become.

Crystal Palace wanted Nuno but then pulled the plug on talks, leaving the other candidates now in the frame knowing they were not the club’s first choice.

Everton are still scrambling for a new boss, too, while Tottenham have found it extremely difficult to get someone in – Paulo Fonseca, who made way for Jose Mourinho at Roma, now reportedly set to take the reins.

Wolves, in contrast, were decisive. Lage, once Nuno’s exit was instigated, was the frontrunner all along.

He should be able to get his philosophy across over pre-season and even has a few weeks to plan before that starts on July 5.

Lage is returning to his homeland, coming back ready to take training at Compton, and you would imagine he will be fielding calls left, right and centre.

Further discussions over the style of play he wants to implement at Molineux will be held, with the current players he sees fitting into that and the fresh faces he would like to bring in to boost things.

Time will tell if he sticks to the 4-4-2 system that, in 2018/19, served him so well at Benfica.

But either way, it is all set up to be a busy summer at Wolves.

There will be a fair amount of incomings

and outgoings over the next couple of months, and some tough decisions will have to be made.

The appointment of Lage, though, is believed to have been a straightforward process – especially once granted a work permit by the FA.

Giving him a three-year contract as well, Fosun clearly believe he is capable of getting Wolves back on track with an entertaining, effective brand of football.

A new era is upon us – but it is not a radical change.

Wolves, in an ideal world, will take what worked under Nuno and give it new life under the more attack-minded Lage.

A similar goal rate to what he oversaw at Benfica would go down a treat. Let’s see how he does.

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