Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Bruno Lage has responded to Pep Guardiola’s comments that Wolves weren’t interested in playing football during their defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
It was a tough afternoon’s work for Lage’s side who were reduced to 10-men following Raul Jimenez’s sending off and the game was ultimately decided by a dubious penalty midway through the second-half.
Guardiola claimed that it was easier to play against Wanderers when they had 11 men on the field as once they had a man disadvantage it became “difficult to play against a team that didn’t want to play.”
Side goes defensive when a man down? Shocker...
But as has become the norm, no credit was given for the resilience of Wolves but rather they were criticised for not going gung-ho and allowing a team to walk all over them.
Speaking ahead of the midweek fixture with Brighton, Lage had his say on the matter but in typical Lage fashion - he remained respectful and actually gave Guardiola credit rather than entering a war of words.
“When we have the ball we try to play and we have to give big credit to them because the way they press, we don’t have too many chances to try and play our game,” he said
“And when we don’t have the ball we need to defend our goal. I understand the football like this.
“The most important thing is, can you really tell me that we don’t want to play football?
“When you are defending we need to protect the way we play.
“I was also on the other side when I was in Benfica. When I was at Benfica I beat all the records in the offensive way.
“We scored in that one season more than 100 goals and other teams when they played in our stadium and when they played our side, they protect themselves, they defended. They tried to close the spaces and what I want is every time to prepare my players to find the right play.
“I really don’t understand how they say we cannot play because you were there, we were defending high, trying to press and trying to play from the back.
“When we tried to play two or three times from the back they won the ball because they were very high. I prefer to give the opponents credit when we try to play our game and they press high and don’t let us play.
“But look, everyone is free to have their opinion. I have mine.”
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