The opening few weeks of Bruno Lage’s tenure at Wolves has been encouraging if not profitable.
The Old Gold have found life tough under the Portuguese, failing to score or pick up a single point from their first two Premier League matches.
A combined haul of 42 shots had been taken in those defeats to Leicester and Spurs as they were able to achieve everything but a goal.
Yet, against a dejected Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, the floodgates finally opened. Wolves’ attacking unit has been untethered and set free by Lage and you can tell it’s something they relish.
As they won 4-0, they were also boosted by the returning Daniel Podence who will no doubt provide the manager with more cover in offensive areas.
Although he spurned a succession of chances, the forward found the net and looked in phenomenal touch after coming back from injury.
However, it wasn’t Podence, Fabio Silva or even Trincao who caught the eye the most; that honour has to go to the wise old head of Joao Moutinho.
Throughout last season, it was widely tipped that 2020/21 would be the veteran’s final as a regular in the starting XI.
Though, Lage has made him a key part of his plans and he’s started the new campaign with aplomb. He and Ruben Neves ran the show during the loss to Spurs last weekend but he was at his majestic and magical best when they played Forest.
Moutinho didn’t find the net or register an assist but the composure and control he brought to the middle of the park was simply a class above.
No player on the whole field touched the ball more regularly than the Portugal international who picked up possession on 128 occasions.
What made that even more impressive was his desire to be creative. Moutinho made a jaw-dropping nine key passes as Wolves ran rampant against Chris Hughton’s men.
How the 34-year-old didn’t come away with an assist is baffling. He played a delightful ball into Podence during the first half but he fluffed the chance after evading the onrushing goalkeeper.
The duo continued to have a vibrant understanding as the clash went on, but Silva was the man who eventually ended up supplying his goal.
This may have been a performance against a struggling Championship outfit but it proved why Moutinho is still so important to Wolves. It was a display that rolled back the years and gave us a timely reminder of why he’s been held in such high esteem on the continent.