Bruno Lage thinks he can’t think of guiding Wolves to the Champions League as his first objective must be his own job security.
Wolves have an outside chance to break into the top four under Bruno Lage this season. After their form dipped under Nuno Espirito Santo last season, the new boss has had quite the impact.
Going into Thursday’s trip to take on Arsenal, Wolves are six points clear of fourth place with two games less against Manchester United. That said, their next opponents are above them and also have an extra game to play.
But being in the running is a major sign of progress. Fourth place still looks up for grabs and it would be an impressive feat for Wolves to achieve it.
However, Lage knows that any manager is only a few bad results away from being fired. Therefore, the former Benfica boss is not racing for the moment.
He said: “I’ll tell you why – because you can be fired the next day.
“How many managers come, play four or five games in the Premier League and get fired? You have a contract and you can be fired the next day.
“It’s our life. Even if you dream of certain things that you want to do in your life, you must choose solid things.
“I want to play the UEFA Cup and the Champions League with Wolves every year. But what I know is that I’m trying to win the next game.
“Because our life can change, just like that. Look for example Nuno, he was here with a fantastic job, went to Tottenham, was manager of the month – so what happened the next month?
“Look at what happened at Benfica; manager of the year, manager of the month in January, February, March and April, then after losing a few games I was sacked.
“That’s why whenever I have my car keys in my pocket, I just put my bags in my car and drive away.”
Players can still dream
As for his players, however, Lage thinks it’s a good thing if they are considering playing in Europe’s top continental competition.
He added: “I want my players to have their own vision, especially for careers.
“Then don’t waste your time. Each time to try to improve and do things for his career and for his club.
“If I heard them talking about that (playing in the Champions League), it’s good because it’s their ambition, their job and they need to have that character.
“We have to keep working to improve. But every time we speak it’s (approximately) one game at a time – and right now it’s Arsenal, an important game for us and for them.
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Bruno Lage previews Arsenal clash
Wolves will meet Arsenal for the second time in February on Thursday. The reverse game was a 1-0 loss to the Gunners at 10.
Some in the Wolves camp have complained about the nature of Arsenal’s celebrations afterwards. However, Lage wants to draw a line under the question.
He said: ‘It’s not about revenge.
“Once the game is over, it’s a handshake, congratulations to them because they won and move on. That’s the mentality.
“They did what they did, they lasted 30 minutes with 10 men, they closed their goal and they celebrated, like us. If I was in their place, I would do the same.
Another side note of this match is the return of Raul Jimenez to the Emirates Stadium. It will be the first time the Wolves striker has played there since fracturing his skull against Arsenal in November 2020.
He has made positive progress on the pitch since his return, which Lage is happy to see.
The manager said: “The work the club has done with Raul has been fantastic. Every time people were around him to prepare him as well as possible for (a return to) training.
“To be honest, I never speak with Raul about what happened on the pitch. But the most important thing is the character of these guys.
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