‘Top man’ Raul Jimenez is major inspiration for Wolves – Bruno Lage

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Wolves manager Bruno Lage believes Raul Jimenez can inspire the squad this year (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Wire)
Wolves manager Bruno Lage believes Raul Jimenez can inspire the squad this year (Anthony Devlin/PA) (PA Wire)

Bruno Lage believes Raul Jimenez can provide Wolves with some new-year inspiration.

The striker spent the most of 2021 recovering and finding a way back to fitness after horrifically fracturing his skull in November 2020.

Jimenez has started all but two of Wolves’ Premier League games this season, scoring three goals, ahead of Monday’s trip to Manchester United and Lage knows his influence is key.

“It is inspiration for them, life is like that. It will put you down and then it’s about you to get up and have the power and strength,” said the Wolves boss.

“Every time he is like that, that is why he is an inspiration for them. Raul is a good example especially for kids who want to be professionals, the way he works every day is a good example.

“I have just good things to say about him. Raul is defending like a big striker and this is the most important thing. When you look, especially in the modern day, everyone is talking about the meaning of the team and Raul has that.

“He can play both sides of the game. When you are defending you can see Raul and when you are attacking you can see Raul is there to attack.

“After that he is also a top man, I want the best, not just for him but our players. To continue to come with the big ambitions, with happiness to work every day and work to improve the club.”

Wolves have scored just 13 times in the league this season as Jimenez and his team-mates struggle for goals, yet they still sit ninth.

The Mexico international has shown glimpses of his best form this term but Lage conceded, having not seen his recovery first-hand, he did not know how much it took Jimenez to return.

“Nuno (Espirito Santo) saw everything, when I started working with Raul he started training with me. I didn’t realise or understand what path he needed to do after the injury, to recover,” he said.

“When you look for that image with Nuno crying (in the documentary ‘Code Red’) you can understand what a manager can see when the player is there, injured. It was a long journey for Raul.

“It was harder for Nuno than for me, when I came here I had the chance to put Raul in the game.”