Wolverhampton Wanderers appointed Bruno Lage as their new head coach last month.
The 45-year-old most recently spent 18 months at the helm of Benfica and was the club’s top target following the surprise departure of Nuno Espírito Santo at the end of the season.
Lage will be coming in with fresh ideas and, based on what he did in Portugal, a more attacking style, but what does it mean for Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers?
Our Scout Report takes a closer look.
Lage turned to coaching at a young age and began his career in academy football at Vitoria Setubal back in 1997.
Assistant roles at Estrela Vendas Novas and Sintrense followed before the Portuguese took his first steps at Benfica, where he managed at every youth level between 2004 and 2012.
He then moved to England, when he became assistant to Carlos Carvalhal at both Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City. While at Hillsborough, he helped the Owls to two Championship play-off finishes, before experiencing the Premier League for the first time with the Swans.
After that, he returned to Benfica B, before taking charge of the first team.
Upon his appointment, the Lisbon giants were languishing in fourth place in the table, seven points off leaders Porto and looking destined to miss out on the title for the second year in a row.
Lage, however, led them on a stunning run that saw them end the season as champions and score a record-equalling 103 goals. Statistically speaking, it was the best second half of a season in Primeira Liga history.
However, the following campaign wasn’t anywhere near as fruitful. Benfica went on a run of picking up just 10 points from 10 league games, and as a result, Lage parted company with the club in 2020.
BRUNO LAGE’S PRIMEIRA LIGA RECORD AT BENFICA:
Above figures taken from Transfermarkt
During his time at Benfica, Lage mainly opted for an attacking 4-4-2 with lots of pressing from the front.
On paper, that may sound fairly uninspiring, but there were some interesting elements that made it so successful.
The full-backs were key to the entire system and asked to get forward on the overlap at every opportunity.
La Masia graduate Álex Grimaldo and André Almeida performed the roles and registered a massive six goals and 23 assists between them in 2018/19 alone.
Two of the main beneficiaries of the tactic at Wolves next season could be Nélson Semedo (£5.0m) and Rayan Aït-Nouri then, which is something to keep an eye on during pre-season.
However, the wide players further forward were equally important.
They were asked to drift inside and help out centrally, not unlike Ralph Hasenhüttl’s use of Stuart Armstrong (£6.0m) at Southampton.
Players like Pedro Neto (£6.5m) and new signing Francisco Trincão (£6.0m) could absolutely work here, while it may also suit Daniel Podence (£5.5m).
Explaining Lage’s tactics, A Bola journalist Rui Miguel Melo said:
He enjoys wide players, but the wide players in this tactical approach are the full-backs. He played very well with (Alex) Grimaldo on the left side and (Andre) Almeida on the right. He likes to have his wingers cut inside. His teams have a lot of interior game, and then the main advantage comes from the width. He puts the game all on one side of the pitch, and then, in a few touches, he changes the side of the match and goes to the other side. That’s one of the ideas in this tactical approach.
Lage had a very clear idea on how he wanted Benfica to play, but there is no guarantee he will use the same approach at Wolves. For instance, 4-3-3 is a system he liked in the youth teams, and he’s also known to have tinkered with a 4-2-3-1 previously.
Regardless of the formation, you suspect the philosophy will remain the same though.
The key takeaway from the tactics discussed above is that Lage loves to attack.
Wolves, though, were among the lowest scorers in the Premier League last term, netting only 36 times, so adding goals will surely be the new head coach’s priority.
Nuno’s attempts to evolve his side’s style and formation were less than successful, but with talents like Neto, Trincão, Adama Traoré (£6.0m) and Fabio Silva (£6.0m), plus the returning Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) in the squad, there is no reason why they can’t adapt to a more attacking approach.
The logic behind the appointment looks sound, given Lage’s connection with the Portuguese players already at the club, and once the fixtures ease in Gameweek 4, Wolves may well throw up some interesting FPL options.
Above: Wolves’ fixture run from Gameweeks 1-8
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Source : www.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk – https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fantasyfootballscout.co.uk%2F2021%2F07%2F09%2Fcan-bruno-lage-make-wolves-attackers-more-appealing-in-fpl%2F