Julen Lopetegui has come in for high praise for the way he changed the game for Wolves against Tottenham Hotspur – and Nathan Collins proved himself as a superb ‘Plan B’.
The Molineux head coach set up with 4-3-3 against Spurs on Saturday.
Mario Lemina played very deep, with Matheus Nunes and Ruben Neves operating as ‘number eights’ ahead of him.
Pedro Neto was wide left, with Pablo Sarabia on the right and Diego Costa through the middle.
It was a nice team on paper, but Wolves struggled in the first-half. Specifically, creating chances to threaten Fraser Forster in the Spurs goal.
Dissatisfied with what he had seen, Lopetegui didn’t hesitate to change things up at half-time.
And he did that in a big way, putting on Adama Traore and Nathan Collins and switching to a back three.
That was a very bold thing to do. But it worked a treat and Collins’ introduction really helped Wolves to get control of the game.
He and Max Kilman were able to cover the space vacated by Nelson Semedo and Jonny Castro Otto as wing-backs.
With them pushed high, it meant the forwards were also higher.
Ultimately, Wolves were able to put more pressure on the Tottenham backline and stretch it.
In the end, Traore struck the winner, and he has been coming in for a lot of praise for his performance.
But £20 million signing Collins was also superb for Wolves when he came on, and integral to the shift in momentum.
After that first-half, it looked very unlikely Wolves would be able to win the game.
But Lopetegui’s decision to create a back three by adding Collins was inspired. And it could be something that happens again going forward.
Nathan Collins’ display against Tottenham showed he could potentially be a great Plan B for Wolves
It was very interesting to see the return of a back three on Saturday.
But it looked very good, and Collins, Dawson and Kilman felt like a really solid trio protecting Jose Sa.
Collins has had to be patient following the arrival of Dawson at the club.
But Saturday showed that he can potentially still be really important for Wolves, with Lopetegui not afraid to change the system.
He proved himself as a strong solution for Wanderers.