Wolves slipped to a third successive defeat in the Premier League yesterday, losing 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Molineux.
Wanderers started 2022 superbly, but are now in a tough spell and have completely lost ground on the teams above them.
A push for European football will now be very difficult.
Yesterday’s performance was undoubtedly one of the very worst this season. The first-half showing was especially bad.
There were perhaps a few reasons for it and hindsight is always a wonderful thing, but here are three things Bruno Lage got wrong yesterday:
Lage’s team selection yesterday was very questionable.
He decided to go with two in midfield, leaving Leander Dendoncker on the bench. That was an interesting call considering how physical Palace are.
Lage also played Fernando Marcal over Rayan Ait-Nouri, which was an extremely strange choice. Nelson Semedo is now on the sidelines, so the Frenchman, 20, is the only wing-back who can be a proper attacking outlet.
Finally, Raul Jimenez has not bee in great form of late, but he remains an important player for Wolves.
Wolves were stung by him not playing from the start yesterday. There was no focal point, and the trio of Pedro Neto, Hwang Hee-chan and Daniel Podence just did not work.
He didn’t make any half-time changes
Wolves were absolutely abysmal in the first-half.
They just couldn’t get a foothold in the game at all, with Palace far superior in every department.
The performance was so bad, it felt as though at least one change was inevitable at half-time.
But Lage didn’t change anything, and persisted for another 15 minutes or so before finally throwing on Jimenez.
The manager then changed formation with about 15 minutes to go when he took off Max Kilman for Chiquinho. By that point, there was just no time to mount a comeback for Wolves, given how poorly they had been playing.
Starting Ki-Jana Hoever
The comments after the game from Lage about Ki-Jana Hoever were quite remarkable.
The boss said of the Dutch youngster (via Goal): “I have too many kids in my team, sometimes they don’t work the way they should work. They don’t prepare the way they should prepare.
“Injuries can happen, but this one happened because he’s not prepared. Because sometimes Ki doesn’t work in the same intensity.
“It’s just not for Ki, it’s more kids in our team who need to understand I don’t waste time with guys who don’t work hard every day to improve.”
The comments beg the question: why was Hoever selected ahead of Jonny?
For him to make those comments would perhaps imply it wasn’t just a lack of preparation just before yesterday game.