Lopetegui urges Wolves to ‘be ready’ to face Chelsea – ‘we know the quality of Lampard’

News Desk
Julen Lopetegui celebrates victory for Wolves

Julen Lopetegui has told Wolves to focus on “being ready” to face Chelsea so they can spoil Frank Lampard’s unexpected return to the London club.

The Premier League strugglers host the Blues at Molineux on Saturday with Lampard confirmed as their opponent’s manager until the end of the season after Graham Potter was dismissed last weekend.

Lampard was sakced by the club just over two years ago. This came after he spent 18 months in charge and with the club ninth in the Premier League, despite spending £200m on new players..

He has been out of a job since leaving Everton in January and Lopetegui knows Wolves – who are just a point above the drop zone – cannot afford distractions.

The boss said: “This is not under our control, we prefer to be ready and have our game plan. We don’t know if they are going to change anything or not. That’s why we put the focus on our daily work.

“We have seen the last matches of Chelsea, we know the quality of Frank Lampard.

“I’m sorry for Potter but welcome Frank, this is football. It’s not easy to find one better squad than Chelsea’s, they have a lot of big players with quality. We have to be ready for that.

“We have to put the focus on our team. I cannot lose a lot of time thinking about what’s going to happen. If you want to play in these matches you have to be close to perfection. Each little detail is going to be key.”

Hwang Hee-Chan is available after a three-week lay off but Ruben Neves starts a two-game ban with Jonny also suspended.

Daniel Podence will also be in the squad having been charged by the Football Association with spitting at Brennan Johnson during Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.

Wolves will contest the charge and Lopetegui is confident of Podence’s innocence.

“Daniel Podence never, ever, spat at someone. That’s 100 per cent,” he said. “The club are working on it but Daniel never, ever, spat at anyone. Hee-Chan recovered this week.

“We know what kind of player Ruben is for us but he is going to be out for two matches and we can’t change that.

“Now we have to find solutions. This is our work.

“It’s not easy to win in the Premier League for any team. We are fighitng to be out of the relegation (zone), we are going to continue fighting. It’s going to be a very hard and long race for a lot of teams.”

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