One of the biggest reasons Wolves were in the conversation for European football last season was Jose Sa.
The goalkeeper enjoyed a truly fantastic debut campaign at Molineux, following his arrival as Rui Patricio’s successor.
Sa quickly established himself as a goalkeeper with a brilliant all-round game.
Wolves under Bruno Lage were not the most adventurous of outfits. Often, games were cagey and Wolves did a lot of defending.
Many times, games finished with just one goal being the difference.
And Sa made huge contributions for Wolves, who looked good for some form of European football at one stage.
But form completely deserted Wolves, who lost five of their last seven Premier League games and drew the other two.
In 2022/23 before the World Cup, Sa had not been in the best form.
While he did save two penalties, his general level was far below what he was showing last season.
But since Julen Lopetegui came in, and Sa came back from the World Cup, he has been excellent.
The 29-year-old didn’t get any minutes in Qatar. And it seems the possible frustration of that, combined with a new head coach, has been really good for him.
He looks assured and alert again.
Sa made six saves in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, including one to bail Nelson Semedo out after he sold him short on a backpass. That’s his highest tally in any game so far this season.
He also made a couple of fine stops against Everton, including one from Anthony Gordon who really ought to have scored. His performance at Goodison Park led to a Team of the Week inclusion from BBC Sport’s Garth Crooks.
It’s great news for Wolves fans, with Sa’s form absolutely paramount to the success of the team.
Jose Sa’s return to form will be absolutely crucial to Wolves’ survival bid
The performances of Sa have perhaps been one of the biggest positives of Wolves under Lopetegui so far.
He will know he was sub-par prior to the World Cup, and it’s great to see that he has turned a corner.
One wonders if the £7 million star playing with a broken wrist affected his levels of performance in the early stages of the season. Something like that would surely be quite difficult to completely forget about.
Hopefully we can now see some consistency from Sa.
It’s been a great start for him under Lopetegui, but he needs to keep a high level.
Him being in good form for large periods of the second half of the season will be absolutely key to Wolves pulling away from danger.