The Old Gold fell to a 2-0 defeat against their hosts at the London Stadium, with goals from Gianluca Scamacca and Jarrod Bowen inflicting the damage.
Lage faced issues in the centre-back department coming into the match, with Nathan Collins suspended following his red card against Manchester City two weeks ago. That left Max Kilman and the inexperienced duo of Yerson Mosquera and Toti Gomes as the only available natural options.
In the end, the manager overlooked both Mosquera and Toti and instead fielded a natural full-back in Jonny Otto alongside Kilman, with Nelson Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri stationed on the flanks.
One Lage innovation caught Madeley’s eye within ‘seconds’ of the kick-off at the London Stadium, and it concerned the third individual used in that makeshift central defensive unit.
The Athletic reporter tweeted: “Looks in the early seconds like Neves is playing in the middle of a back 3. That is…. interesting.”
He explained in a subsequent tweet that Wolves seemed to be moving from a back three to a back four fluidly, with Semedo dropping back.
Lage surely felt a degree of pressure coming into the game after picking up just three points from the first 21 available this season, and this was certainly a bold move as he tried to inspire an improvement.
According to Transfermarkt, Neves had no experience of starting a game as a centre-back prior to this evening.
He completed 72 of the 83 passes that he attempted (an accuracy of 87%) but he also earned a booking which will see him suspended for his team’s next match against Chelsea, given that it was already his fifth in the league this term.
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