Bruno Lage admitted that any plans Wolves had to tackle Manchester City went out of the window with the early goal and sending off of Nathan Collins.
The hosts went into the Molineux clash looking to protect a three-game unbeaten run. But they went down 3-0 to Pep Guardiola’s side, with Jack Grealish opening the scoring inside the first minute. Erling Haaland then bagged his almost inevitable goal with a long-range strike on 14 minutes.
It was the Norway international’s 11th top-flight goal this term and 14th in the past nine games in all competitions. Collins saw red for a high challenge on Grealish in the 33rd minute but Wolves managed to hold out until half-time.
Phil Foden completed the scoring in the 69th minute, connecting with Kevin de Bruyne’s low cross for City’s third. The result lifted the Etihad outfit to the top of the table while Wolves remain 16th.
Lage was understandably frustrated and confessed that it was always going to be an uphill struggle after the first 60 seconds.
“[It went wrong] not just in the first half, but the first minute,” he told BT Sport. “When a team like City, who played on Wednesday night, score in the first minute it is hard to take.
“In between the first two goals we were there, but they scored in a transition.”
Lage takes positives despite first home loss
It has been a tough start to the campaign for the Black Country side, with just one win under their belt from seven attempts. Five of their six points have been taken on home soil and they were unbeaten at Molineux until City arrived.
However, Portuguese tactician Lage refused to be too downbeat after the loss.
“The most important thing to say, even with the problems we had in the first half, the team had personality to play the game,” he added.
“We tried to come back in the second half to equalise and have more of the ball and we had that in the first 20-25 minutes and our plan was to score and put pressure on them but they scored.
“But that was our best moment in the game. We came with a good plan but it is hard when you have one less man.
“We understand that the team are growing up, we can see good signs.”
No blame on Collins
Wolves have scored just three league goals so far in 2022-2023. With Raul Jimenez injured and new signing Diego Costa not fit enough to play, they always looked like struggling in the final third.
Things were much harder after going down to ten men, but Lage preferred to switch his focus elsewhere.
“It is not about Nathan Collins,” he continued. “Sometimes it happens and the same situations, I saw one like that yesterday in the Aston Villa game against Southampton and nothing happened, today it was a red card.
“It is about continuing to play, Ruben Neves played very well. We did that for five minutes initially to just try and work out how to play.”