Wolves manager Bruno Lage has insisted he is very happy with Raul Jimenez, despite benching him for the last two games.
The Mexico international was named as a substitute for the game against West Ham United, a move that really surprised a lot of supporters.
He had not been in great form, but it was a massive game against a European football rival.
Lage decided to plump for Fabio Silva against the Hammers. The teenager did his best, but Wolves struggled in the final third.
Then against Crystal Palace last weekend, Lage went with a front three of Hwang Hee-chan, Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto. It just didn’t work, with Wolves again failing to score.
Jimenez did come off the bench in both matches, but there was little time to really make an impact.
It’s likely he’ll return to the starting XI against Watford tomorrow night, and Lage has said today that the 30-year-old is still an important player for him.
He said in his press conference (Wolves official): “With time, the players understand how I work. Raul is a massive player, an example of a professional, but important players don’t need to play all the games. Every time, in the end, it’s about decisions from the manager – I want to take the best from Raul, and the team.
“He’s an important player, a massive example for the youth, what a top professional should be. I’m very happy with him.
“Raul it’s easier than people think [to manage]. Every time he’s playing, he works hard, and if he’s not working hard he does the same. Every time he’s to the limit. He comes every day with a smile on his face, playing or not playing.”
Raul Jimenez remains vital for Wolves
It has been a difficult season for Jimenez. And it was probably always going to be.
He’s still made nine goal contributions this season so far. That isn’t half bad considering everything he has been through.
He might not be the same player as before, and who knows if that player will ever return.
But he is still vital to Wolves’ attack, and those in reserve have helped to highlight that. Wolves simply just aren’t the same when he doesn’t play.
Hopefully those two games on the bench might have lit a fire beneath him and he is ready to really thrive against Watford.