Julen Lopetegui: Wolves appoint former Spain and Real Madrid boss as new head coach

Wolves have appointed former Spain and Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui as the club’s new manager.

Lopetegui succeeds Bruno Lage, who was sacked on October 2 after winning just one of his final 15 games in charge.

He will begin work on November 14 when he officially takes charge at Molineux after Wolves’ final Premier League game before the World Cup against Arsenal.

Wolves chairman Jeff Shi said: “Julen is a top coach, with excellent experience at an elite level of the game, and we are very pleased to have agreed a deal to bring him to Wolves.

“Since the very beginning, Julen has been our number one choice to manage Wolves, and we look forward to welcoming him and his team when they join us in the coming weeks.”

Lopetegui was sacked by Sevilla at the start of October, two years after guiding the La Liga club to a record sixth Europa League crown in 2020.

Wolves approached Lopetegui last month but the 56-year-old Spaniard rejected the move due to personal reasons, forcing the Midlands club to explore alternative targets.

Lopetegui was sacked by Sevilla at the start of October

Queens Park Rangers boss Michael Beale appeared on the verge of filling the vacant manager’s position at Molineux until his last-minute commitment to the Championship club sent Wolves back to the drawing board.

Caretaker boss Steve Davis received public backing from chairman Jeff Shi to oversee first-team matters through to the end of the year but, with Wolves languishing in the Premier League relegation zone, efforts to sign Lopetegui were revived.

‘Lopetegui can help change the mentality at Wolves’

Spanish Football expert Alvaro Montero speaking to Sky Sports News:

“Lopetegui is one of the good Spanish coaches after the likes of Pep Guardiola and Unai Emery. We are talking about a very famous coach in Spain, who has a lot of experience with Real Madrid, the Spanish national team and Porto in Portugal.

“He’s a good option first of all and mainly because he is an expert coach, and he knows how to play and set up for different types of games.

“At Real Madrid he didn’t have a lot of time. He spent only four months there and after that he said he wasn’t able work because the club didn’t let him do what he wanted.

“However, I think he is going to do well in the Premier League because of his experience.

“The question about how he might adapt to a relegation battle is a good question because he has coached very good teams in very good moments.

“We are talking about Sevilla, who were Europa League winners, the Spanish national team and Real Madrid, but he hasn’t really been in a situation like Wolves find themselves in now.

“But he is a very good coach in the psychological part of the job. Once, Sevilla’s director Monchi asked him about the three main virtues and he said Lopetegui’s a working man, a great competitor – which Wolves need now – and he’s very good at managing groups.

“So, he’s arriving at a perfect moment for Wolves, not because of their sporting moment but because psychologically he can change the mentality of the locker room and the group.”

Wolves’ fixtures before World Cup break

Nov 5: Brighton (h) – Premier League, 3pm

Nov 9: Leeds (h) – Carabao Cup, 7.45pm

Nov 12: Arsenal (h) – Premier League, 7.45pm

Lopetegui’s first seven games at Wolves

Dec 26: Everton (a) – Premier League, 3pm

Dec 31: Man Utd (h) – Premier League, 12.30pm

Jan 4: Aston Villa (a) – Premier League, 8pm

Jan 7: TBC – FA Cup third round

Jan 14: West Ham (h) – Premier League, 3pm

Jan 21: Man City (a) – Premier League

Feb 4: Liverpool (h) – Premier League, 3pm

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