Three takeaways from Wolves' narrow defeat to Las Palmas
Morgan Gibbs-White and Leander Dendoncker congratulate Ki-Jana Hoever after his volley.  (Photo by Jack Thomas - WWFC/Wolves via Getty Images)

Preparations for the 2021/22 season continued for Wolves on Monday evening with a narrow 3-2 defeat to Las Palmas in Marbella.

Luis Garcia and Watford-loanee Adalberto Penaranda stormed the Spanish Second Division side into a 2-0 goal in the first-half before Ki Jana-Hoever's impressive volley pulled a goal back for the Wanderers.

Former Real Madrid, PSG and Stoke City winger Jese capitalised on a Huge Bueno mistake to restore Pio Pio's lead in the final 20 minutes, which also included a well-finished goal by Morgan Gibbs-White to cut the lead to only one goal.

The defeat means it's two defeats in three for Bruno Lage this summer, but whilst they have fallen to defeat twice, signs of improvement and tactical familiarity are clear.

Counter-pressing throughout

Both halves included a variety of players and contained high, aggressive pressing from the Wolves players in warm conditions in Spain.

Lage's style of play has become clearer as the three games have come and passed, with the importance of pressing opponents in their own half with the sole goal of regaining possession and attacking the space.

In the first-half, Rayan Ait-Nouri was a perfect example of this. Maybe his defensive nature causes this, but on many occasions, he lost possession and attempted to win the ball back, rather than re-group into position and let the opposition recycle the ball.

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Whilst the first-half midfield contained Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves, the second-half pairing of Luke Cundle and Leander Dendoncker pressed more as Wolves chased the game.

It does remain early days in the process of transforming this group of players into how Lage wishes to have them playing, but there are signs of it beginning to click.

One particular element that is of interest is the attacking width of the full-backs. Hoever's goal saw the Dutchman in a more central position, rather than the wider positioning that was often witnessed in the Nuno Espirito Santo era.

Wolves have three more friendlies left before their Premier League opener with Leicester City, more than enough time for the squad to become better suited to the former-Benfica Head Coach's way of playing.

Morgan Gibbs-White impressing

Despite being involved in the first-team set-up since his league debut in February 2017 (over four years ago), Gibbs-White is still only 21-years-old.

He's often followed the tradition of most young players who break into the first-team early in their career- struggling to cement a place in the team whilst failing to live up to the original hype smacked onto his name.

But the previous 12 months and the next 12 months could be almost seen as make-or-break for the Englishman.

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Against Crewe Alexandra in the first game, Gibbs-White played in central midfield and was energetic, pressed forward and looked impressive.

In Saturday's victory over Real Betis and the defeat to Las Palmas, he continued to impress and after being introduced at half-time, he went on to show his quality further.

A goal topped off a very good performance in a game where he started in midfield and then find himself out wide on the right. His pace, flair and energy stand him out from what Moutinho and Neves lack.

Impressing on loan at Swansea City last season and clocking up more minutes in the Premier League last season will only set him up for better performances this season.

In Lage's 4-4-2, he is capable of playing in the central midfield as a box-to-box midfielder, whilst also being used as the number 10 behind Raul Jimenez on Saturday.

Finding the net on the right wing on Monday evening adds more reasoning for him to be included more this season- one of the biggest seasons of his career.

Is Mosquera the centre-back Wolves have needed?

Willy Boly missed out on Monday's defeat after limping off on Saturday, meaning Yerson Mosquera was handed another chance to ask the question of starting in the first team.

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His aggressive, crunching and almost perfect challenges split play-up on a number of occasions- aiding the pressing Lage are asking of his players.

It's not just his defending. His 'Conor Coady-like' ball over the top of the Las Palmas defence fed Gibbs-White through on goal from a position that looked like nothing was on.

Coady has returned from his long break and was in attendance on Monday. With Boly out until further notice, Lage has Mosquera, Max Kilman and Romain Saiss to choose from with the upcoming fixtures with Stoke City and Coventry City.

The Columbian defender has fitted in nicely at Wolves and already appears as a fan favourite.

Wolves have lacked a physical and tough man in defence for years now, but finally, look like they have secured someone for the current and future.

His impressive performances will add to the squad depth problems that Wolves have faced in the past years. With the aim of re-gaining European football at the club, the Columbian reaching his potential in the next year is vital.