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Bruno Lage heaps praise on Wolves youngster Toti Gomes

Bruno Lage has heaped praise on Toti Gomes for his composed debut – and hints the young defender could stay with Wolves beyond January.

The 22-year-old has spent the last 18 months on-loan at Grasshoppers and arrived in Wolverhampton for the first time earlier this month to train with Lage’s team.

He was expected to go back on-loan at the end of January but with Wolves short in defence he was surprisingly thrown in against Southampton for his debut.

“He has just trained two or three times with us, working the strategy and the way we play, and we decided to play him instead of changing too many players,” Lage said.

“Without Ki-Jana and Marcal we don’t have too many players to play there, and I prefer to continue with Leander as a midfielder.

“The kid did very well. It’s a question of opportunity for him.

“Two weeks ago he was on his holidays and we needed him, now after two weeks he has a chance to play in the Premier League. It’s about opportunities.

“In that moment I preferred to go with him. I don’t want to put pressure on him because he’s played one game and he’s helped us to win this hard game, but he looks like he has potential.

“He is a calm player and it was good. In training we can see this was the best solution for the game.”

Lage has consistently said he wants to sign a centre-back in this transfer window, but when asked if he could keep Gomes for the remainder of the season, he said: “It’s a very good question but I don’t have the answer yet.

“Now I need to prepare the next game and I think, if nothing changes, I need to go with Toti again.

“He did well and now we have one more week to prepare the game and see which one is available, but I will go with the same feeling not to change too much.

“We try to prepare every time the best way, away at Brentford is a hard place to play.

“With Toti it’s day by day. He’s with us and I am very happy with him, lets see what happens until the end of January.”

Luke Cundle came off the bench in the final minutes for his Premier League debut and Lage also revealed the midfielder almost started the game with Ruben Neves out with Covid-19.

He added: “I prepared a lot of things in the week. It was a very hard week.

“We prepared Leander as a centre-back, Max on the left and Luke Cundle as the number six. We prepared that solution and also prepared with Toti, and I preferred to go in that way.

“He hasn’t had much time to work with us, but I preferred to go with Toti to keep Max on the right because he’s comfortable.”

Wolves also missed Ki-Jana Hoever due to Covid-19 and Marcal through injury, meaning several youngsters were named in the squad.

But Lage has reiterated his desire to continue playing games and avoiding fixture congestion by applying to postpone them.

“If we have players we need to continue to play,” he said.

“We have a lot of kids from the academy and they are available to play. I want to play, especially now we are in a good moment.

“I put in a kid who has just trained a couple times with us and we won the game. Every time I want to play.

“In two or three weeks we are playing more games with the FA Cup, if you put more games it is hard to play, so if we have a good XI I prefer to play.”

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