Wolves crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday, meaning the threat of relegation is still very real.
Wanderers came up short at St. James’ Park, with Miguel Almiron striking late to seal all three points for the hosts.
Wolves struggled against the Magpies and their press.
The home crowd really played their part, and Wolves’ players often didn’t look comfortable on the ball.
Alexander Isak gave Newcastle the lead but just before that, there was a big controversy involving Nick Pope and Raul Jimenez.
Pope caught Jimenez in the area after a heavy touch. But the penalty appeals were waved away by referee Andy Madley.
VAR, for some reason, did not instruct Madley to review the incident via the pitchside monitor.
Wolves got back on level terms through Hwang Hee-chan. But Lopetegui’s decision to put on Nathan Collins to form a back three was exploited by Newcastle and Almiron.
It was a strange one. Wolves were in the ascendency at 1-1 and it didn’t feel like the system needed to be changed.
Playing with wing-backs is something that can be risky as they can leave space in behind them.
It was surprising that Lopetegui didn’t in actual fact turn to Matheus Cunha, who was left as an unused substitute.
It was the first time Cunha has not been used by Lopetegui for a game he’s been available for since his arrival.
Pedro Neto, Matheus Nunes, Rayan Ait-Nouri, Hwang and Collins were the players introduced from the bench.
Decision to overlook Matheus Cunha against Newcastle was strange by Julen Lopetegui
It is hard to understand why Cunha – who Wolves will buy for £43 million this summer – didn’t get any minutes whatsoever against Newcastle.
Ultimately, the decision to send Hwang on was justified, with the South Korean equalising just seconds after coming on.
But it just felt like maybe Cunha could have really helped Jimenez in that second-half. The Mexican had worked hard in the game but struggled to make a big impact.
Cunha and Jimenez have looked decent together so far for Wolves. Before the game, Molineux legend Steve Bull said that he wanted to see them both start against the Magpies.
But Cunha was completely overlooked.
One does wonder if Lopetegui regrets putting Collins on, rather than the Brazilian and keeping the same formation.