Wolves’ latest pre-season friendly has ended in a 1-1 draw against Championship outfit Stoke.
It was the first time Bruno Lage has had his whole squad together following the extended breaks handed out after Euro 2020.
But here are five things we learned from the match…
Lage eyeing a back five?
Lage has switched to a back five in-game before but this was the first time he’d started with the system.
Does he feel he has to play three central defenders when Conor Coady is in the team?
Or is it just a coincidence that the England international’s return coincided with the switch? Time will tell.
Many Wolves fans want to see a move away from that system, which was so often used by Nuno Espirito Santo.
Whatever system Lage plays, the emphasis is on him to make Wolves more of a threat.
Jimenez back on the scoresheet
We said after the Real Betis game that the next step in Raul Jimenez’s recovery is getting a goal to boost his confidence.
We also said it wouldn’t take long and we were right. Jimenez made it 1-1 shortly after former Wolves defender Danny Batth opened the scoring.
The goal should give him a lift and fans and players alike will be buzzing for him.
He got 73 minutes here before being replaced by Fabio Silva and the goal topped a strong all-round display.
Traore’s fit and firing
This was Adama Traore’s first outing of pre-season and there were a couple of potential reasons he might not have been at his best.
He’s just come back this week from his extended break after the Euros, but you’d not have guessed he hadn’t had much time to train.
Before he was taken off at half-time, he was lively and purposeful, beating on Stoke defenders frequently from his position on the left of the front three.
The link-up between Traore, Jimenez and Francisco Trincao could be dangerous this season.
Otasowie left out again
We also asked earlier this week if pre-season had been ominous for Owen Otasowie.
He’s played just 14 minutes of pre-season so far and was left out of the squad entirely again here.
Perhaps he’s just got a niggle we don’t know about. Or perhaps those sides will be watching his situation keenly, ready to offer him a potential exit – either on loan or more permanently.
Lage needs to iron out set piece struggles
Wolves struggled to defend set pieces under Nuno Espirito Santo and Lage is experiencing the same issues.
Batth’s goal came after the ball dropped in the box and Wolves were too frantic and not authoritative enough to clear effectively.
That’s something Lage needs to sort out and maybe he can get to work on it now he’s got all his senior stars back.
Letting in cheap goals from corners and free-kicks will undermine any manager’s attempts at progress.
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