Bruno Lage has challenged Daniel Podence to chip in with more goals and assists for Wolves if he is to reach the next level.
The winger enjoyed a decent 2021/22 campaign, establishing himself as Wanderers’ most impactful forward.
The £17 million former Olympiacos star was regularly the shining light for Wolves, who struggled for most of the season in the final third.
Often, he would be the only one looking likely to make something happen.
It was perhaps no coincidence that Wolves’ form really tailed off towards the end of the season, with Podence getting injured after the win over Aston Villa in April.
He missed the next five games, with Wolves losing four of those and not scoring in three of them.
He returned against Norwich City, getting 15 minutes or so. But he was then an unused substitute against Liverpool in the final game.
Podence finished the campaign with six goals and three assists to his name across all competitions.
Not a bad haul, but Lage wants more from the £17 million man.
He said (Birmingham Mail): “He has to improve a little bit. The game I have in my head is not just mine, it can become ours. It was a little bit hard for him to find the right place to start, but after that he became a really important player for us in the way he assists, and the way he scores goals.
“Now to go to the next level – and I think he wants to go to the next level because he has big ambition – he must put numbers. Numbers is more goals and more assists. That’s the pressure we all have, especially me, because we need to score more goals.
“We have a good defensive record but we need to improve our (attacking) record a lot. Just to understand a little bit about what I’m saying, when the club finished seventh position the striker scored 13 goals and the wingers scored nine goals. In 19/20, Raul scored 17 goals and Jota scored seven.”
Lage also suggested that he needs more from the other forwards in his squad.
Daniel Podence still searching for consistency at Wolves, as Lage challenges him to get more goals and assists
Lage is right. Podence does need to improve his numbers.
He had a good season in 2021/22, and he showed what an important player he is for Wolves.
But there is still a feeling that he has a lot more to give.
To reach the next level, he does need to increase his output in terms of goals and assists.
He certainly has the natural talent to do that. It is just about being more consistent.
And it will also be about the club bringing in better quality attacking players this summer to take advantage of his creativity.