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Wolves: Lopetegui should unleash Toti

Julen Lopetegui was confirmed as Wolves‘ new manager late last week and the Spaniard could get the Old Gold back to their best by unleashing Toti.

The 56-year-old manager, who will take charge of his first Wolves game after the World Cup break, has a huge job on his hands if he wants to be a success at Molineux, as his new side sit 19th in the Premier League following their 3-2 defeat against Brighton at the weekend.

After Wolves were so defensively strong last season, with only the top four conceding fewer, the Midlands outfit have been a shambles at the back so far this season, shipping 22 goals in the Premier League, including seven in their last two home fixtures.

One explanation behind this was Bruno Lage’s decision to switch from a five-at-the-back formation to a four-at-the-back formation, as well as allowing club captain Conor Coady to join Everton on loan.

This left the Old Gold incredibly short of centre-back options, which was emphasised under the Portuguese manager earlier in the season when Ruben Neves was deployed in defence after Nathan Collins’ sending-off against Manchester City.

Should Toti start more often?





Steve Davis opted to call upon Toti for the games against Chelsea and Nottingham Forest, and while he struggled at Stamford Bridge, he earned an impressive 7.18 rating and a clean sheet against Steve Cooper’s side, helping the Old Gold to just their second win of the Premier League season.

The young centre-back’s average rating of 6.67 in the top flight actually ranks him as the second-best performer at Wolves so far this term, so it is peculiar that he hasn’t seen any more minutes after that Forest win.

While Collins and Max Kilman is the strongest partnership as a two, Lopetegui might consider playing Toti alongside them in a back five, if he wants to make Wolves more defensively secure.

The 23-year-old, who was described as a “top player” by his Wolves teammate Max Kilman, has made just seven appearances in his time with the Old Gold but could be in line for a more regular role if he can impress his new manager.

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While the goalscoring issues were still there last season, Wolves looked far more comfortable when playing three centre-backs, while they also enjoyed success with that formation under Nuno Espirito Santo, finishing seventh in their first season back in the top flight after promotion.

Therefore, when Lopetegui takes charge of his first game after the World Cup break, he should consider unleashing Toti alongside Kilman and Collins at the back.