Leander Dendoncker is hoping Wolves can replicate their second-half performance against Celta Vigo across a whole 90 minutes as the midfielder prepares for the Premier League opener against Leicester City on Saturday.
Although Wolves failed to find the back of the net at Molineux, the side in gold and black peppered the visitors’ goalmouth with chances after the break, and having come off the bench at half-time, the Belgian was pleased with his own personal performance in a much-improved second-half showing.
On a positive second-half
“It was a good test for us against a good team. Spanish teams, in general, are always good with the ball and I think we saw that, especially in the first-half.
“But in the second-half, we had a very good reaction. We’ve created a lot of chances, none of them went in, so that’s the only problem, that we didn’t manage to score.
“But I think in the second-half, we pressed them really high up and it was difficult for them. I don’t think they even created a chance in the second-half, so a good game overall.”
On his own performance
“Not too bad. I just tried to give it my best. I think the first-half, we just didn’t know them that well as an opponent, so maybe we needed some time to adapt to the way they play, because they played really well on the ball.
“They always managed to find the right spaces at the right time, but we needed some time to get used to how they play and in the second-half we tried to play our own game with a lot of intensity, just tried to go forward and create chances.
“We did that, but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to score.”
On improving in front of goal
“It’s something I have to improve, to try and score more goals, to be more decisive. I have to do more decisive passes as well, so that’s a work point for me and hopefully I can manage to score a few more goals again.
“We’ve had quite a lot of set-pieces, especially in the second-half, and I think we need to deal better with them.
“Celta Vigo didn’t have a lot of tall players, so I think we need to try and get more out of that. Max [Kilman] almost scored, so it’s up to us to just put it inside.”
On preparing for Leicester
“I don’t think we’re were we would like to be, which is normal when you have a new manager, with new rules and a new philosophy.
“With the Euros and the holidays, we haven’t had a lot of time with the whole of the squad and I’ve also not had much of a pre-season, but we’ve been working really hard every day in training and we’ve had a couple of games to get some rhythm again.
“The Premier League starts next week with three very hard games before the first international break, but we’ve got one more week to work and prepare for Leicester. It’s up to us to be ready and hopefully we can play the whole game like we did in the second-half so we can get some wins.”
On his role changing under Lage
“He’s a manager who really likes to play from the back, try to build up and with a lot of rhythm as well. We’re just trying to work on these things in training during the week.
“He wants the midfielders to stay really close and narrow to each other and help the defenders by teaming up. But he also asked me to infiltrate and go forward on the crosses from the side.
“From that point of view, it hasn’t changed a lot since last season, but he wants us to especially play on the ball and build up from the back.
“We’ve been working hard, and we’ve got one more week to be ready for the first game.”