Without a goal or assist this season, the former Barcelona winger was dropped to the bench for the 2-1 win over Everton on Monday and only played the final 22 minutes against Palace; Traore has 18 months left on his current deal
Sunday 7 November 2021 10:04, UK
Wolves manager Bruno Lage defended his decision not to start Adama Traore at Crystal Palace and dismissed talk it was to do with his contract situation.
Second-half goals from Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher consigned Wanderers to a first defeat in six games following a 2-0 reverse in south London.
After struggling to dictate possession or create chances at Selhurst Park, it was put to Lage that the game may have suited Traore, who thrived in a counter-attacking system under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Without a goal or assist this season, the former Barcelona attacker was dropped to the bench for the 2-1 win over Everton on Monday and only played the final 22 minutes against Palace.
"That is the question every time. When you look for the starting team we want, every time we have to take decisions," Lage stated when asked about Traore.
"We play with Adama also against Leeds and we don't have the chances to go in the transition. OK, I understand your question and for sure we think about it.
"We try to understand the game and to find spaces to play with Rayan (Ait-Nouri) and Nelsen (Semedo) because they are in good positions. We try to see, especially from the back, if our midfielders come with the pressure or not and to also find Hwang Hee-chan and Francisco Trincao between the lines.
"After that, we go and attack the defensive line but for that, we need to have good decisions from the back and to find the spaces, so that is why when I look at the game, it wasn't a good performance."
Traore was heavily linked with a move to Tottenham in the summer and a reunion with ex-boss Nuno, who has since left the club.
No transfer was forthcoming and the 25-year-old now only has 18 months left on his current deal with no breakthrough in talks that initially began during the previous campaign.
While there is no suggestion Lage has been told not to play Traore due to the ongoing contract situation, the 45-year-old insisted he would never accept such an order anyway.
"No, no, no. I don't know what happened before. But for sure I am 100 per cent free to take my decisions and that is my job," he added.
"The personality I have, I don't accept these kinds of things in my role. One thing is the contract and the other thing is my ideas. If I need him to play and to win games, I will put him in again."