Lopetegui's management of Raul Jimenez yesterday was disappointing
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton FC - Premier League
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Lopetegui's management of Raul Jimenez yesterday was disappointing

Wolves played out their final home game of 2022/23 yesterday – and there was to be no proper farewell for Raul Jimenez.

Wanderers appeared to be on course for three points against Everton, after Hwang Hee-chan had scored in the first-half.

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But the Toffees scored deep into injury time through Yerry Mina.

The Colombian scoring when he did might just save Everton’s bacon this season.

It was disappointing that Wolves conceded so late on. To sign off with a win in the final home game would have been nice.

But ultimately it’s not that big a deal considering Wolves are safe.

While yesterday was about trying to win the game, it was also about giving some players the chance to perhaps say goodbye to the fans.

A handful are expected to depart – and one such player is Raul Jimenez.

The Mexican has struggled for minutes over the last couple of months, and he did not make a Wolves squad for six Premier League games in a row, before he returned against Manchester United last weekend.

Photo by Alex Dodd – CameraSport via Getty Images

Many fans hoped and expected that Jimenez would get some decent minutes yesterday against.

But Lopetegui overlooked him, leaving him as an unused substitute.

When Boubacar Traore and Matheus Cunha were told they were coming on as Wolves’ final substitutes of the afternoon.

Journalist Liam Keen reported at the time: “He ripped his training jacket off, threw at at the bench and stormed down the tunnel.”

An understandable reaction, from a player who has given so much for this club and perhaps just wanted the chance to play one final time at Molineux.

He was seen in tears after the game as he acknowledged fans.

Julen Lopetegui got it so wrong with Raul Jimenez yesterday

When it became clear that Jimenez would not be coming on for Wolves against Everton, you could not help but feel sorry for him.

At the end of the day, this is a player who has done so much for Wolves.

He’s one of the best strikers, and probably players, ever to wear the shirt at the club.

Maybe something happened behind the scenes between Lopetegui and Jimenez. The manager was not keen for Jimenez to go to the World Cup when he was in the state he was in, and perhaps this has all stemmed from that.

Photo by Jack Thomas – WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images

Who knows, but Lopetegui’s decision not to give Jimenez the chance for a proper farewell yesterday was just cold.

Surely whatever may have happened could just be brushed under the carpet for this one occasion. In the aftermath of the game, Lopetegui himself even suggested he might have got things wrong.

The manager had to have known what it meant for both Jimenez and many Wolves fans for him to play yesterday. Knowing that he is very likely going to leave in the summer.

It just felt like unnecessary ruthlessness from the manager.