Sunday, November 06, 2022

By Nick Mashiter, PA

Skipper Ruben Neves has backed incoming boss Julen Lopetegui to revive Wolves.

The former Spain boss will join this month after finally agreeing to move to Molineux at the third time of asking.

He arrives with Wolves second bottom of the Premier League after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Brighton.

Lopetegui gave Neves his debut as a 17-year-old at Porto and the midfielder believes the ex-Real Madrid boss is the right choice for Wolves.

“I’m 100 per cent sure he’s a great coach and he will help us a lot,” he told the club’s official site.

“Of course, we know he’s a great manager, he did a lot of big things in football, he coached a lot of big teams – Porto, Real Madrid, Spain, he won the Europa League, so everyone knows him very well and I know he’ll help us.

“I said he was special because he gave me my debut in professional football at 17. At that time in Portugal nobody did that so, of course, he’s a special coach and a special person for me. Because of him, I started to play professional football, with my team in Porto.

“The next two games (against Leeds and Arsenal) are the most important for us, they are the last games before the World Cup, and we need to make sure we get some results.”

Neves scored a penalty after Goncalo Guedes cancelled out Adam Lallana’s opener at Molineux.

Kaoru Mitoma levelled before the break and Nelson Semedo was then sent off in first-half stoppage time for hauling down the Japan international.

Pascal Gross’ winner seven minutes from time lifted Brighton to sixth and Lallana believes boss Roberto De Zerbi, who replaced Graham Potter last month, is showing his class.

“Back-to-back wins in the Premier League are massive for any club at any time,” he told the club’s official site. “We started the game incredibly well but then I think we maybe took our foot off the gas a bit and perhaps got a little complacent and found ourselves 2-1 down.

“I really enjoyed myself. I’ve got into a rhythm at the moment, the manager has given me freedom to play.

“It was always going to take some time for the manager to get his ideas across but we’re making progress, although we just have to take it game by game and focus now on Arsenal on Wednesday.”

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