Wolves’ 2021 is over.
In the past 12 months, the club have changed manager and got fans back in the stadium after months behind closed doors.
Here are five things we learned from a year like no other…
The squad needs to be bigger
Nuno Espirito Santo preferred to work with a smaller squad but the frantic 2020/21 system took its toll on the fitness of Wolves’ players.
Now Bruno Lage has come in and he wants two quality players battling for every position.
Wolves do not have that yet and it does not take many injuries for them to look short on variety or options.
It will cost significant money to get players of the right quality to improve the standard of the squad but that is what Fosun need to provide now.
Sometimes a change is needed
If Nuno did not step down, it is not clear whether Wolves would have taken the tough and risky decision that he had taken them as far as he could have and make a change.
But now it has happened, it was clear that the club needed freshening up. Some things can be fantastic and then go stale and that applies to Nuno’s reign.
Lage is trying to bring a more proactive style of play to Molineux. It will take time but that approach is the one more likely to make Wolves established in the European places in the Premier League.
Wolves are still wedded to a three-man defence
Nuno experimented with a back four during his reign but it made his side look far more porous without adding anything in the way of attacking threat.
It might have been expected that Lage would do the same but apart from some brief experimentation in pre-season, he has so far stuck with a three-man backline.
The longer term plan seems like a back four and high pressing, but at the end of 2021, Wolves are still wedded to that system which has brought them so much success.
Fans make a huge difference
Football behind closed doors at Molineux just wasn’t the same.
There was intensity lacking from games and supporters were missed at times when Wolves needed a boost during the early part of 2021, when some games drifted.
Having the supporters back has lifted the tempo and it makes it feel like proper football again.
Wolves still do not have Jimenez cover
Spending £35 million on a striker should offer an alternative when the talisman is out but Wolves still do not have adequate cover for Raul Jimenez.
The club really, really struggled when the Mexican was out for the first seven months of the year, and even now, wingers are deployed out of position to replace him on the rare occasions he cannot play.
Fabio Silva is still too raw, and the foray into the loan market for Willian Jose did not work out.
Tottenham have a similar problem with Harry Kane in terms of how to replace such a good striker when he is not available.
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