Shropshire Star

Julen Lopetegui: Nathan Collins substitution halted Wolves momentum

Julen Lopetegui has admitted Wolves' change to a back five against Newcastle halted their momentum after getting back into the game.

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Hwang Hee-chan's fortuitous goal dragged Wolves level at 1-1 before Lopetegui made his final substitution by bringing on Nathan Collins and switching to a back five.

Wolves were on top at the time, but Newcastle scored their winner shortly after, and Lopetegui admitted that change may have altered proceedings.

When asked if he was disappointed with the defending for the winning goal, Lopetegui said: "Yes. To lose is always frustrating.

"Maybe in this moment we don't have to change anything, and I am talking about myself and not the players.

"Always when you make one change you are thinking about helping. We wanted to put more strength in that area because they are a very good team in this way.

"They got the second goal and it was a pity for us. It was a key moment.

"We made three very offensive changes and we wanted to balance the team, but in the end we suffered a lot in a key moment.

"It was a pity because my thought in that moment was that we could try and win the match, but we didn't."

Hwang's strike was his first Premier League goal this season in his first appearance since returning from the hamstring injury he picked up at the beginning of February.

However, Lopetegui was in no mood to take the positives for Hwang from the defeat.

He added: "I'd prefer to have some points.

"For one player to score is not important, the most important thing is we get a positive result and we didn't.

"Now we have to continue. It will be a very long and hard race for a lot of teams. There's a lot of teams involved trying to get out of relegation and we have to be ready because each match is a final."

Ruben Neves was one of three players taken off in the 68th minute, with the skipper one booking away from a two-match suspension and with crucial games against Leeds and Nottingham Forest to come.

However, Lopetegui insisted that was not the reason why Neves was taken off early.

He said: "No, I don't think about this, we wanted to do different things in the match. This is all."