PL Stories - Ep 34Mar 22
Wolves Fan’s Premier League Season Preview
After a sub-par campaign culminated in the departure of Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolves are looking to return to the upper echelons of the table this season.
Ahead of a brand new season of Premier League football on BT Sport, we spoke to fans of each and every team about their expectations for what lies ahead over the next nine months.
Talking all things Wolves, BTSport.com sat down with Dazzling Dave from Wolves Fan Dazzling to get his thoughts on the new season.
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Most Wolves fans will hope we can get back into the Europa League positions. That would be amazing, but things are a bit up in the air at the moment due to the uncertainty with Nuno Espirito Santo’s sudden departure. There’s a lot of changes that have taken place.
Finishing 13th last season left some fans disappointed but in reality it wasn’t bad with all the injuries. The main problem in the last 18 months has been the football has not been as expansive with fast counter attacking. Bruno Lage comes in with a pedigree of managing Benfica. He took over when they were fourth and brought through the likes of João Felix and is good at working with youngsters, coaches at various levels and assistants.
We’re in a bit of a transition at the moment so you’re not really sure if he is very attacking – pre-season hasn’t been free-flowing but we have started to grow into the game and we’ve still got the likes of Adama Traore and Conor Coady to come back.
We want to score more goals, control the game more and get on the front foot – Nuno was very compact but Bruno’s team presses from the front and gets more offensive – we want more excitement. If Wolves and Leeds play each other next season I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 6-5! Bruno’s Benfica were scoring for fun and Wolves last year kept going behind early and we were scoring most of our goals in the second half.
There’s always a worry when you sack a manager – you always think, what could go wrong? You look at Chelsea and they changed managers to Thomas Tuchel and that’s worked well, but if it goes the other way there are certain sections that will get on the manager's back.
We do have a tough start but in some ways that takes the pressure off. We need to strengthen at the back – it will be interesting to see where Coady plays for Bruno because he plays in a three in the middle but in a four he can get a little bit more exposed. So it will be interesting to see who else he brings in during the transfer window.
Pedro Neto, Raul Jimenez and Daniel Podence are all fitness worries coming into the season too. I don’t think we will struggle to score goals but it’s about getting used to a new style and system under Lage – once they get used to that they could be an exciting team as long as we make sure we keep the backdoor shut.
The worry is if we don’t start well and need to play catch up – our first home game is against Tottenham and Nuno – I just hope it doesn’t overshadow Bruno’s first game at Molineux. I feel quite positive we won’t be in a relegation battle if we don’t have so many injuries this year.
Most important player
Raul Jimenez. We missed him, he was the one player who if he got injured we didn't have a replacement for and he was out for eight months!
When he got injured we were sixth and I think we did well to finish 13th. He was such a big miss and having him back is a boost for the squad, the team and the fan base. He’s got a protective band on now and they are building up his fitness. He should be the main man.
Fabio Silva. He’s been working a lot on building up his physical fitness this summer. He got thrown into the firing line last year, Wolves paid £35m – that’s not his fault – but he’s got something about him. Willian Jose did a job, he held the ball up and he was strong but Fabio, the way he moves, the way he reads the game, shows he’s a real player.
When Fabio came in he started to score the goals at the end of the season. He’s still lightweight because he’s so young but he’s got all the building blocks of being a great player if he can bulk up. With him, Neto, [Francisco] Trincao, Podence, Jimenez and [Adama] Traore – Wolves going forward should be dangerous.
What I’ve missed most
The atmosphere. I might be biased but a lot of away fans say that Molineux, when the fans are singing, is unbelievable. The FA Cup quarter-final match against Man United was unreal. When we are on song and we’re playing well it’s brilliant.
It’s an old-school ground, the whole matchday, the build-up to the match, that’s all been missed. Coady has spoken about it, he said initially they just wanted to get back playing but now they’ve really missed having the fans there and the whole experience has been what we are desperate to get back to.
The first home game against Tottenham will be emotional because we haven’t seen people for so long, it’s part of your life so it’s like a reunion. And with Nuno coming back, when we found out he was on the way out people were crying. Nuno is like a prophet with us, he gave £250k of his own cash to the foundation, it was a tough week when he went but we are all behind Bruno Lage now – he’s a good guy.
7th. I think we’ve got enough quality, we’ll have a bigger squad and I think they’ve learned from having a small group.
We have big players coming back as well and if come out of the transfer window well - and we’ve added to the squad - I think we’ve got a really talented squad and just need to get the new system sorted.
I have got to be positive and hope we can get Europa League football for the year after – and I’d like us to make a cup run and go to the final – my dad who is 83 has never seen one so it would be brilliant for us to get to one this season.