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Julen Lopetegui: Bad energy must fire Wolves up

Julen Lopetegui insists Wolves must harness the ‘bad energy’ from their loss to Leeds for their 10-game relegation run-in.

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui (right) reacts to assistant referee Gary Beswick
Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui (right) reacts to assistant referee Gary Beswick

Wolves were poor in both boxes during Saturday’s 4-2 defeat, as the gap closed once again in the relegation dogfight.

Lopetegui’s side are three points off the bottom three, but have played more games than most teams around them, and the head coach has issued a rallying cry to his side with 10 games remaining.

He said: “We must continue, we have 10 finals in front of us and each match will be a challenge and a chance.

“We have to accept it and try to improve. We have to use this bad energy in this moment to be stronger.”

Wolves were also hard done-by with refereeing decisions on Saturday, and Lopetegui openly criticised the officials after the game.

However, he still has faith in those calling the shots.

When asked if the standard of refereeing is good enough in the Premier League, he said: “I say yes. But at the same time we have been very unlucky with decisions – I could write a book about it.

“Liverpool, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle, Southampton with the same referee as here, when Lemina is sent off. We were fighting very hard to avoid relegation and we have to continue in this way, trying to be better, but understanding the decisions.”

When asked if he still has trust in the officials, Lopetegui added: “If I don’t believe in them, then I have to go. To be honest, we have been very unlucky but I don’t want to focus on things that are out of our control.”

Meanwhile, centre-back Max Kilman is trying to take some positives from Wolves’ brief second half comeback as they fought back from 3-0 down to 3-2.

He said: “We showed a lot of fight, even at 3-0 down, we showed a lot of fight and need to build on that.

“Hopefully we can try and keep the ball out of the net and score a few goals the next game.

“Sometimes things happen in football, you put more bodies forward and less bodies at the back, that’s just the nature of the game when you want to score at the end.

“Everyone knows what we need to do for the next game, there was a lot of pressure on this game and a lot of things didn’t go our way, so we’ve got to regroup and go again.

“We’ll regroup, stay calm and we go again for the last 10 games. We need to stay calm. We showed a lot of team spirit today, we showed a bit of fight. Things didn’t go our way, but we need to take it into the next game, rest and regroup.”

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