‘About time’ - Former Wolves manager Mick McCarthy gives verdict on Julen Lopetegui appointment

‘About time’ - Former Wolves manager Mick McCarthy gives verdict on Julen Lopetegui appointment

Former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy has given his verdict on the club’s appointment of Julen Lopetegui as Bruno Lage’s replacement. It’s taken Wolves over a month to get a new man through the door and fans will have to wait even longer for the head coach to take to the dugout.

The former Real Madrid manager will begin work on Monday, November 14 - two days after Wolves’ final game before the World Cup. He will have plenty of time to implement his strategy with those not heading to Qatar, but McCarthy, who spent six years with Wanderers between 2006 and 2012, feels the process has taken too long.

“I think he should be in charge already,” McCarthy told Sky Sports. “I think they’ve steadied the ship a little bit but you want the guy who’s going to run the team in as soon as possible. The sooner you get him in, the better. I know he’s had problems - so it might be that - but if they’re prepared to wait they’re getting a very good manager.”

McCarthy is no stranger to success at Molineux having guided Wolves to promotion to the Premier League in 2009. The ‘problems’ he mentions are in fact the reason Lopetegui is waiting a while longer before joining the club - as the Spaniard attends to a family matter in his homeland.

As McCarthy recognises, this is perfectly understandable, but he - just like many fans - is a little frustrated at the time taken to bring a new face in. Nevertheless, the former Wolves favourite is very excited about the future under Lopetegui. “I’m delighted, they’ve finally got a manager,” McCarthy continued.

“A good manager with a good reputation, I think it’s wonderful for him to join the club and have six weeks’ training. They’re obviously going to lose some players to the World Cup, but to have six weeks to get your ideas [implemented] - it’s a fabulous opportunity.

“He’s had experience and it should be good for the team, but you don’t know yet - I’ll be interested to see. It seems like a great appointment but we’ll never know until he starts. Wolves under Nuno and Lage looked like a top 10 team for years, with all the investment and players that came in. The 3-2 loss to Leeds last season was the start of the rot setting in.”

Lopetegui, who enjoyed a 17-year playing career as a goalkeeper for the likes of Real Madrid, Logroñes, Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano, comes in with plenty of pedigree. He has managed at four youth levels for Spain and guided the Spanish senior team for two years between 2016 and 2018.

Julen Lopetegui will take charge of Wolves on November 14 - six weeks and a day after Bruno Lage was sacked.

The 56-year-old also spent a few months in charge of Real Madrid before being sacked in October 2018. He went on to win the UEFA Europa League with Sevilla in 2020, beating Inter Milan 3-2 in the final. He left the Sevillistas at the start of this October after five successive defeats.

Steve Davis, Wolves’ interim head coach throughout the five weeks since Lage was sacked, has managed just one win in six matches - a narrow 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest. The Wanderers are currently in the relegation zone, battered and bruised after an action-packed 3-2 defeat to Brighton on Saturday.