Premier League team guide: Wolves in the spotlight
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Aarron Pullen
LiveScore
Wolves will be looking to put a difficult 2020-21 season behind them
Wolves will be looking to put a difficult 2020-21 season behind them

It is the dawn of a new era at Wolves after the decision to part ways with Nuno Espirito Santo at the end of last season.

But it was a case of out with one Portuguese manager and in with another as former Benfica boss Bruno Lage stepped into the Molineux dugout.

Two seasons on from their maiden Europa League campaign, Lage will be looking to take Wolves back into Europe once again.

Last season

There is no doubt the horrific head injury Raul Jiminez suffered last November — ruling the Mexican out for the season — significantly hampered Wolves’ prospects.

They mustered just 36 goals in the league, making it their least fruitful return since 2009-10.

The team’s longest unbeaten run of four matches came and went in October — and it was a failure to build momentum that saw them finish 13th in the table. 

Three consecutive defeats ended Nuno's reign on a sour note and it was not overly surprising when his departure was announced. 

Improving Wolves' attack will be a priority for new manager Bruno Lage
Improving Wolves' attack will be a priority for new manager Bruno Lage

New faces

It has not taken long for Lage to get his feet under the desk at Molineux, with the Portuguese manager quick to get bodies through the door.

Goalkeeper Jose Sa’s £6.8million arrival from Olympiacos means Wolves have a solid replacement for Rui Patricio, who has linked up with Jose Mourinho at Roma. 

Colombian centre-back Yerson Mosquera, 20, could turn out to be a surprise package after joining from Atletico Nacional for around £4.5m.

Francisco Trincao has the ability to light up the English top flight
Francisco Trincao has the ability to light up the English top flight

Winger Francisco Trincao has traded Barcelona for Wolverhampton on a season-long loan, while Rayan Ait-Nouri has had his loan from Angers made permanent.

The club's final piece of business so far was Hungarian full-back Bendeguz Bolla, who joined for £1.5m from Fehervar — but he was immediately shipped out on loan to Grasshoppers.

The line-up

3-5-2: Sa; Mosquera, Coady, Saiss; Trincao, Neves, Moutinho, Gibbs-White, Ait-Nouri; Neto, Jimenez.

After using a host of different formations in pre-season, it remains to be seen how Lage will set up his side in the Premier League. 

Hot prospect Trincao should slot in on the right flank, while the return of Jimenez to the starting line-up will be a welcome boost once he is back to full fitness.

It was always going to be tough for Adama Traore to match his first two seasons at the club.

And with new faces in his position, a move away could well be on the cards for the Spaniard.

Star man: Conor Coady

Wolves cult hero Conor Coady was a consistency solid presence at the heart of their defence
Wolves cult hero Conor Coady was a consistency solid presence at the heart of their defence

Entering his seventh season at the club, skipper Conor Coady has become a real fan favourite during his time at Molineux.

Not just there to please supporters, he is a key cog in the Wolves wheel — registering more minutes (3,303) than any other outfield player at the club in 2020-21.

A dominant presence at the back, the 28-year-old ranked highly for both clearances completed (3.54 per 90 minutes played) and headed clearances (2.26 per 90) last term.

His efforts earned him a place in the England squad ahead of the European Championship. And despite not making an appearance at Euro 2020, he was credited with playing a crucial role in the camp.

Up-and-comer: Rayan Ait-Nouri

Frenchman Ait-Nouri, 20, will be looking to build on his positive 2020-21 loan spell and reward the club’s faith after they signed him on a permanent basis.

Making 21 league appearances at left-back, he only scored once in his debut season — but the defender’s 40% shooting accuracy suggests more goals could be coming his way.

Not afraid to get into attacking positions, he attempted a credible 3.91 crosses per 90 and completed an average of 0.77 per 90 across the campaign.

The boss: Bruno Lage

The new man in charge has big shoes to fill but Lage, 45, is certainly no stranger to English football.

After a successful eight years coaching all age groups in Benfica’s youth system, he linked up with Carlos Carvalhal as his assistant coach at both Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea.

A return to Benfica followed in 2018, taking caretaker charge of the first team before being offered the role on a permanent basis.

He won the Primeira Liga title in 2019 but a poor 2020 saw the former winger ousted from the dugout, with his assistant Nelson Verissimo placed in charge.

Lage will be keen to get his managerial career back on track in the Premier League — but Nuno's shadow will loom large over Molineux until his replacement starts producing the goods.

All information correct as of 4pm, August 6, 2021

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