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The Wolves debrief: Bruno Lage's style starting to take shape

The Bruno Lage era is underway at Wolves, with supporters seeing the new style in action for the first time.

Bruno Lage (Wolves/Getty)
Bruno Lage (Wolves/Getty)

With soaring temperatures and several high-profile stars yet to return following the European Championships, not everything went to plan for the first pre-season game.

In the end it resulted in a 1-0 loss to Crewe, which on the face of it, is very disappointing.

But with Raul Jimenez returning for the first time in eight months and Lage’s style starting to take shape, supporters can see what he is trying to achieve.

An aggressive 4-4-2

Bruno Lage (Wolves/Getty)

Lage started the majority of the available senior players on Saturday and opted for an aggressive 4-4-2 – somewhat similar to his days at Benfica.

At times, it was more of a 4-2-4 as Wolves started fairly brightly, with wingers Rayan Ait-Nouri and Francisco Trincao aiming to make an impact high up the pitch.

They both also played quite narrow, allowing Fernando Marcal and Ki-Jana Hoever to overlap and support.

With that, Wolves also kept a high defensive line to try and suffocate Crewe and steal the ball back – but at times that failed to deliver and the League One side were able to run at the defence.

Jimenez and Fabio Silva interchanged neatly up front, coming deep at times but also running in behind the Crewe defence.

The heat surely played a part as that high press and aggressive style did not last, but fans got a glimpse of what is to come under Lage.

More to come from Trincao

Francisco Trincao (Getty)

Jimenez was, rightly so, the talk of the town as he made his return from injury, but a certain loan signing from Barcelona was also on everyone’s lips.

Trincao started on the right wing and showed small glimpses of what he can do.

Technically, with the ball at his feet, he looks superb. He has a sharp change of direction and exceptionally close control.

The 21-year-old could flourish in this system with the freedom to go and express himself.

It is difficult to read too much into the Crewe fixture, which was always going to be an opportunity to build fitness, but Trincao also fell short with his careless passing.

Too often the forward handed the ball back to Crewe when attacking opportunities presented themselves.

Like Pedro Neto he could become a star for this team, and this result and performance will hardly impact that, but he must be sharper in possession.

A talent emerges

Taylor Perry (Wolves via Getty Images).

As is often the way in pre-season, one or two of the young players show what they’re all about.

On this occasion, 20-year-old Taylor Perry took his opportunity with both hands.

Starting in a midfield two with Morgan Gibbs-White, fans would be forgiven for thinking that Crewe would overrun them.

But while Gibbs-White looked to support the attacking players and pick the ball up higher up the pitch, Perry was an impressive anchor in the middle of the park.

For a player who has often played more offensively for the club’s academy, he did an excellent job retaining possession, looking after the ball and recycling it neatly.

He also looked handy in the tackle and held his own against tough opposition.

His chances in the future may be few and far between, but he has certainly staked his claim.

Sweeper keeper

Willy Boly (Wolves via Getty Images).

With Wolves’ high defensive line, they also saw Max Kilman and Willy Boly split in central defence and pick the ball up wide.

This allowed the full-backs to push on and the midfield to drop in and pick the ball up.

Going forward, with new goalkeeper signing Jose Sa, that may also see him play the ball more with his feet and become another option outfield.

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