Bruno Lage looking at bigger picture ahead of Wolves’ trip to Brighton

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Wolves boss Bruno Lage is not interested in attaching a ‘must-win’ tag to Wednesday’s trip to Brighton as his side navigate a tough run of fixtures.

Wolves are coming off back-to-back games against Liverpool and Manchester City, and will face Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United over the festive period, so a trip south to face a Brighton side without a victory since September looks like a key opportunity to pick up what would be a first win in five.

But Lage said it would be a mistake to treat the match differently to any other.

“I don’t put levels on the games,” Lage said. “Every game is important. In the Premier League, every game is an opportunity to take points.

“Brighton are playing very well. They have good players and an experienced manager.”

Brighton have drawn eight of their last 10 in the Premier League, losing the other two. Like Wolves, they have struggled to find the net, with only 14 goals in 15 league matches, two more than Lage’s side.

“I think we’ll have a good game,” Lage said. “Both teams try to play well…Brighton, every time, they try to play football. Both managers want that.

“Both teams can score goals. Every time I talk to my players we ask those questions. Eighty per cent of our work is in the offensive way. I don’t spend too much time on the way we want to defend.

“We prepare for the game thinking about how we can win and get the goals.”

Lage will need to think of some different ideas on Wednesday night as striker Raul Jimenez serves a one-game suspension following his needless red card at Manchester City on Saturday.

“Raul is for sure a top player and different to the other strikers,” Lage said. “The most important thing is that we try to find the best 11 players for the game.

“(At Manchester City) we changed, so we played with two midfielders and two strikers to give Adama (Traore) a different (game). That’s the thing – to understand our players and how we can create problems for our opponents.

“We don’t change our way to play but we can change a little bit the positions of some of the players. They will give different things to Raul.”

Wolves have one of the few fully-vaccinated squads in the Premier League after a program was put in place by the club’s medical staff prior to Lage’s arrival in June, and moves are now under way to get the players their booster jabs as soon as possible.

There are growing concerns the spread of the Omicron variant could cause major disruption to the season.

Tuesday’s fixture between Brentford and Manchester United went the same way as Brighton’s scheduled match against Tottenham at the weekend in being postponed, and the Premier League on Monday revealed there had been 42 positive tests among players and staff across the league last week.

But though the situation seems to be getting worse, Lage is confident the show will go on.

“I don’t believe we will go back to the time without our fans in the stadium and a long period without play,” he said.

“If there is any problems we will continue without those games, but we cannot stop like we stopped last season.

“It’s a concern but we don’t have time to think about it. What I want and what I think everyone wants is for right and fair decisions every time.”

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