Julen Lopetegui has been in place at Wolves now for just over two months and many players have improved – but Daniel Podence seems to have become the main man for the Spaniard.
The Spaniard has had a transformative effect on Wanderers.
The players all seem much happier than before. And performances have really picked up.
There is an organisation about the team now. And everyone looks fitter.
Wolves are also looking a bit better in the final third. Given how poor they’ve been in that area for so long, it’s going to take some time for Lopetegui to properly fix things there.
But they’re heading in the right direction.
And one man who has really contributed to these early improvements is Podence.
Podence was on the scoresheet again at the weekend against West Ham United.
His strike early in the second-half proved to be the difference between the two sides.
That was Podence’s fifth of the season, which makes this his best-scoring season since he joined the club for £17 million from Olympiacos. Three of those goals have come under Lopetegui. And those three goals have helped Wolves accrue seven points in the Premier League.
Earlier in the season, he also scored in the 1-0 win over Southampton – another major contribution.
He’s really stepping up to the mark and Lopetegui clearly values him highly. He’s started five times under the new manager so far. He was injured for the FA Cup game against Liverpool, and rotated to the bench for the Carabao Cup game against Nottingham Forest.
Podence can still frustrate. But he’s really starting to prove his worth now for Wolves.
Daniel Podence has become Wolves’ main man under Julen Lopetegui
Arguably, no player is as influential for Wolves than Podence right now.
Of course, Ruben Neves is a top-class player who has the capacity to dictate games in midfield.
But Podence is Wolves’ chief chance creator. And he’s now adding goals to his game.
As Dave Edwards says in his latest Express & Star column: “He will try to score, and make things happen, and he does not play safe. It is always good to have a player like that in your side, and he has proven to be the difference in these games.”
It is just about Podence staying consistent now.
He really can be one of the top players in the Premier League if he just found that.
Lopetegui has shown he has complete faith in him, so perhaps we could now see an exciting new chapter for Podence.