Bruno Lage believes lack of Wolves striker was behind his second-season struggle

Former Wolves head coach Bruno Lage hopes the board at Molineux now realise the importance of a striker after detailing his regret at not being given enough time to turn around their fortunes.

Lage was sacked by the Premier League club on October 2 and, while Steve Davis had been appointed interim boss for the remainder of 2022, the PA news agency understands ex-Spanish national team manager Julen Lopetegui is back in the frame to take the job.

The dismissal of Lage occurred after a poor start to the new season for Wolves, who slipped into the bottom three after defeat at West Ham in the final match of the 46-year-old’s tenure.

Speaking from the Web Summit in Lisbon, the ex-Benfica coach referenced their struggles in front of goal and laid a portion of the blame on the fact forwards Sasa Kalajdzic and Diego Costa signed after the season had started.

“My time at Wolves was very good and I think the main point was that,” Lage insisted.

“When we receive the invitation it was to change a little bit the way the team should play and we did that with same system.

“We played a different way and I remember in February we were in the fight for top four, in March we were in seventh position and the last games it was hard to have five players injured.

“But the good signs were the way we played in the season and especially the victory at Old Trafford, the first time Wolves beat Manchester United there.

“The second season was difficult and the schedule, it is different due to the World Cup and the games are coming. I think the big lesson that not just me, but all the board should have is that we cannot compete in the Premier League without a striker.

“Unfortunately at Wolves we didn’t have that striker and I knew that every time we played with a striker – not just the team but the players – the performances were completely different.”

Wolves finished 10th during Lage’s first campaign in charge and he also conceded expectations being raised may have counted against him in both of his last two jobs.

He won the league title with Benfica in 2019, only to depart his role 12 months later.

Lage added: “I think the big lessons I take from these two experiences are that I need to convince people that things don’t come naturally.

“In both situations, it was maybe our fault but we created expectations where we did very well and maybe people don’t think we need players.

“I had good ideas for Benfica, I had good ideas for Wolves but I didn’t have time and in some individual situations I didn’t have the right players. The right players are not the expensive players.

“My experience in Benfica and Wolves mean the next step should be the right project because also it is a big lesson to me that I need to know how to convince people we didn’t have what we needed to have in that moment.”

Meanwhile, defender Hugo Bueno has signed a new four-year deal at Molineux.

The 20-year-old has been rewarded with a new contract after he recently broke into the first team, starting Wolves’ last three games.