How did Lopetegui fare at Wolves?

Julen Lopetegui hugs Ruben Neves while manager of Wolves
[Getty Images]

Julen Lopetegui's only previous experience of managing in England was his nine months in charge of Wolves, which ended a few days before the start of the current season.

He arrived at Molineux in November 2022, just before the World Cup break, with Wolves bottom of the Premier League and four points from safety. Aided by some astute signings during the January transfer window, Lopetegui guided Wolves to a final position of 13th, with the team taking 31 points from his 23 league games in charge.

Nine of those 23 games were victories, including memorable home successes against Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Aston Villa.

Form at Molineux was pivotal to their survival. Utilising a back four with two holding midfield players for most of their matches under the former Real Madrid and Spain boss, a defensively-solid Wolves kept clean sheets in seven of their 11 home league fixtures after Lopetegui's appointment. Four of the seven goals they conceded in those games came in a horrid capitulation against Leeds.

Only 23 goals were scored in those 23 league outings, however, and as good as their home results were, picking up points away from Molineux was more of a struggle.

The two victories, at Everton and Southampton, came courtesy of late winners. A dismal 6-0 loss at Brighton in April was a particular low point of his reign, as was the 5-0 defeat at Arsenal on the final day of the season.

Lopetegui's departure came after public complaints by the Spaniard regarding Wolves' summer transfer policy, and he left in August 2023 following what were described at the time as "differences of opinion on certain issues" - although it was also said that the split between the parties was an amicable one.