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Liam Keen comment: Plenty for Bruno Lage to ponder after Wolves' loss to Man City

Wolves’ defeat to Manchester City gives the club and its supporters plenty to mull over during the international break.

Pedro Neto shoots and misses (Getty)
Pedro Neto shoots and misses (Getty)

Against arguably the best club side in the world, Wolves were never expected to cruise to victory.

But with the current squad that has been assembled, Bruno Lage’s team should at least be competing.

They may have had good spells in possession, particularly with 10 men, but it counts for nothing when the same issues arise in front of goal.

Goal threat

Goncalo Guedes had a good shot saved in the first half and missed a golden chance in the second half when he completely misjudged the flight of the ball when free from 12 yards. However, those two moments aside and Wolves continue to struggle with creating chances and finding the back of the net.

Without a striker and a focal point the team is failing, but some individuals are yet to step up to the plate to fill the huge void in the squad.

Pedro Neto has been poor for a number of weeks and looked off the boil against City. Guedes gets into good positions but flatters to deceive. Daniel Podence is currently the victim of a lack of strikers as he is sacrificed as the false nine, when he is better suited elsewhere.

It could be time to give Hwang an opportunity. He is not a natural number nine but he is the closest Wolves currently have and against Leeds he did well in that position, despite a lack of pre-season minutes. The South Korean has earned another chance.

Centre-back concerns

The sending off of Nathan Collins is one of the worst possible suspensions Wolves could have suffered, as he will now miss the next three games.

Ruben Neves filled in for the remaining minutes against City and did well, but as Lage has already said, they will need him to start in midfield.

It is now up to Toti Gomes or Yerson Mosquera to step up. Gomes did well in his handful of games last season, while Mosquera has yet to play in the Premier League.

The solution may be to move Max Kilman to the right of the two and bring left-footed Gomes in on the left. Regardless of who Lage opts for, the head coach should not have been left in this position. Willy Boly should have stayed until a replacement was secured and Wolves are now suffering after the deal for Craig Dawson collapsed.

The club had moved on from free agent Jason Denayer but it remains to be seen if they re-ignite interest. He would need a number of weeks to be ready, however, and with Collins returning by that time it may be a fruitless task that Wolves are not prepared to explore.

Crucial fixtures

Recent results, and more importantly the lack of goals, make the upcoming fixtures after the international break crucial for Lage’s future.

He is a dedicated, intelligent and studious manager who has been unfortunate with injuries.

However, he also possesses the best group of Wolves players in living memory and has rebuilt the squad in his own vision after the Nuno Espirito Santo era.

He has to deliver and Lage knows it. On one hand he deserves time to change the style and attitudes, but at the same time the team needs to show more in the short-term.

If his tenure is cut unceremoniously short he will largely be the victim of circumstance, but the ruthless world of football is often cruel in that way.

The upcoming games are crucial to his future and the players must repay him.

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