Julen Lopetegui claimed he could write a book about referee howlers costing Wolves
Julen Lopetegui claimed he could write a book on referee howls that have cost Wolves – but he has decided to turn a page… the Spaniard knows his players need to focus on what they do ahead of a tough clash at Nottingham Forest can control
- Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui plans to put a series of refereeing mistakes behind him
- Despite previous apologies, the team still ended up on the wrong side of VAR calls
- Wolves face a season-defining Test at Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon
Julen Lopetegui has said he could write a book about the referee howls his team have endured this season, but the Wolves boss has decided it’s time to start a new chapter.
As they prepared for a potentially season-defining game at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, Lopetegui called a meeting with his players at their training ground in Compton, on the outskirts of Wolverhampton.
Wolves cannot be blamed for feeling the world is against them. They were on the wrong end of the game-changing VAR calls in the pre-international break defeats by Newcastle and Leeds and were already frustrated by officials’ decisions in cup ties against Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
Chief referee Howard Webb spent 90 minutes with Lopetegui at Compton in January and has more than once apologized to the Spaniard for mistakes made in Wolves games.
After Leeds’ 4-2 win at Molineux on March 18, manager Edu Rubio and club secretary Matt Wild came out to Michael Salisbury after seeing Jonny Otto and Matheus Nunes sent off despite being sent off by Nunes was overturned on appeal.
Julen Lopetegui says he will put his anger at refereeing mistakes against Wolves behind him
Howard Webb apologized to Lopetegui for refereeing errors in January, but more followed
However, Lopetegui has found that the Wolves need to wipe the slate clean. He believes his team has a better chance of staying in the top flight if they forget the perceived injustices of the past and simply focus on what lies ahead.
There is an in-game feeling that the way Wolves behave in games – Lopetegui and captain Ruben Neves can be particularly demonstrative when they feel a decision is wrong – can work against them. It will be interesting to see if their demeanor changes at the City Ground, the scene of one of Wolves’ most volatile games this season.
The club have been fined £45,000 for their part in the brawl that followed Forest’s penalty shoot-out win in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, when ex-Wolves man Morgan Gibbs-White celebrated provocatively in front of visiting fans and enraged his former team-mates .
Lopetegui was branded “unprofessional” for approaching Gibbs-White, while forward Matheus Cunha was also reprimanded for his role in the brawl. Now Wolves are back for a far more important game – they’re three points above the relegation zone, Forest a point below – and they can’t afford a distraction.
“Maybe we can all do better for sure,” Lopetegui admitted. “Of course, each of us decides how we live our lives and how we do our jobs.
“We can all improve, me too. But it’s important to be yourself – always on the pitch and as a coach off it, with respect for the opponent.
Lopetegui’s Wolves face Nottingham Forest in a season-defining game on Sunday
“I have to deal with my feelings or translate them – that’s always my thinking because it’s better for my team.
“The most important thing is to respect the referee, always respect the opponent. I warn my players not to show passion, feel passion but always try to stay calm and balanced.
‘[Refereeing decisions] are not in our control and yes I have spoken to the players. We focused on how we’re going to defend, how we’re going to play, how we’re going to press. Those are the things we can handle.”
It feels like the right approach from Lopetegui. Let’s see if he can pull this off after the first controversial call against Forest.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11925301/Julen-Lopetegui-claimed-write-book-refereeing-howlers-cost-Wolves.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Julen Lopetegui claimed he could write a book about referee howlers costing Wolves