Julen Lopetegui delighted with Toti Gomes' Wolves form


Julen Lopetegui, Manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, drinks prior to the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brentford FC at Molineux on April 15, 2023 in Wolverhampton, England. 

Julen Lopetegui has heaped praise on Toti Gomes for taking his chance in the Wolves team.

The 24-year-old had to wait patiently after featuring on January 17 and then waiting two-and-a-half months for his next appearance, when he started at left-back against Nottingham Forest on April 1.

Gomes has kept his place in the last three games and put in superb performances, which prompted Lopetegui to praise the defender’s patience and attitude.

“Toti has been out of the squad list for a lot of matches but he continued working and he was ready,” the head coach said.

“When the alarm clock came, he was ready with his performance to help the team.

“It’s a good thing for him and for us. This is one good example for the rest of the players too.

“The only way you can be ready is to work hard every day, despite not playing a lot.

“I think this is about the mentality of each player. That’s why it’s very important to have a good mentality and be strong in your mind.”

Another player who has had to wait patiently is Boubacar Traore.

The midfielder impressed for Wolves before the World Cup break, but last featured for the club in November after several injury setbacks have kept him sidelined.

Traore recently returned to play 45 minutes for the under-21s but is yet to make his return to the first team.

Lopetegui was impressed with the midfielder during the warm weather training camp in Marbella before his injury – but Traore now has plenty of competition to get a place with academy starlet Joe Hodge, as well as new signings Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes, adding to a plethora of midfielders.

“He has played with the under-21s, with Hodge too, and it’s a good thing for them because they are not playing a lot,” Lopetegui said.

“We are very alert and aware of them. Bouba is one player more for us.

“Bouba has a big energy and it’s not going to be easy for him to stay out for two more months.

“Now, step by step, he’s improving and it will be a good thing for him and for us. He’s one more choice for us.”

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