Wolves got a brilliant win against Everton yesterday – but it’s time now for Julen Lopetegui to drop Diego Costa from his starting XI.
Wanderers took all three points at Goodison Park thanks to an injury-time winner from substitute Rayan Ait-Nouri.
It was not a great performance from Wolves.
But the players showed fantastic character, and there are clear signs of improvement already under the new head coach. The organisation and the fitness levels were good.
There is still a lot of work for Lopetegui to do.
But there are encouraging signs and hopefully after a good January, the picture will be looking much better at Wolves.
But something that is getting increasingly difficult to get behind is Costa leading the line for Wolves.
The striker’s signing as a free agent was widely praised and by many accounts he has been a really good addition to the dressing room.
But his performances on the pitch just haven’t been there.
Yesterday against Everton, he just wasn’t on anyone else’s wavelength. He battled hard as always, but the link-up play wasn’t great and it never felt likely he would score.
There were also a couple of times he got involved in a skirmish. Had he picked up another red card, fans would have been incensed. Especially after Lopetegui recently warned the player to cut the silly stuff out of his game.
Costa has still yet to open his account for Wolves, and it’s looking like he won’t have very many to his name come the end of the season.
It just feels like it’s now time for something different.
Julen Lopetegui should drop Diego Costa for Wolves and turn to Raul Jimenez or new signing Matheus Cunha
Costa is not making a strong enough case to keep his starting berth.
The star is clearly in the final part of his playing career, and now that there are other options available he should be used as an impact substitute.
Lopetegui has a number of options to play through the middle.
If his fitness is there, maybe Raul Jimenez should come back into the starting XI.
Or perhaps Lopetegui could turn to new signing Matheus Cunha, who will be available to play from January 1.
Right now Costa isn’t offering a great deal, and the manager might feel a change is necessary.