Lage ‘challenges’ Wolves to qualify for European football in ‘final curve’

Wolves boss Bruno Lage has challenged his players to finish the season strong and claim European qualification.

The Midlands club are eighth in the Premier League, six points behind sixth-placed Manchester United, with two games less.

Lage’s men, who face Brighton at home on Saturday, were in contention for Champions League qualification until a run of six defeats in their last nine games.

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The Europa League is realistically the best they can hope for, although the Europa Conference League is also a possibility, and Lage, who has always played down his chances, is now changing his position ahead of the run-in.

“I never used to talk about it, I was like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go’ and let’s see what happens in the end,” he said.

“But now we have five games in 20 days. I challenge them now, the last curve, the last 100 meters, we see the finish line in front of us, we have to go and fight for sixth and seventh position and play European football.

“I challenge them because they’ve done it before and we can do it again. ‘I’m here, I want to challenge myself and be better. It’s another opportunity to go and play our game.’

Wolves’ season started with three defeats and many expected a year of struggle following the appointment of the former Benfica boss.

Lage says no one would have thought his team was capable of challenging, but wants them to seize their dream.

He said: “When you watch from the start, and I remember people saying about us, especially after the first three games, if you said Wolves would be in mid-February fighting for the Champions League you are going to be at the end of April fighting for the Europa League and at the end you finish eighth no one will believe you.

“It’s one thing, but now we’re here, let’s go, fight for a chance to dream, keep working.

“I want more for my players. We still have a month of hard work ahead of us.

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