'We were crying' - Julen Lopetegui explains why he left Wolves on eve of Premier League season

Julen-Lopetegui(C)Getty Images
  • Lopetegui kept Wolves afloat in the PL
  • Left due to differences in opinion with board
  • Revealed emotional connect built with players and staff

WHAT HAPPENED? The former Real Madrid manager departed Wolves after just nine months in charge at Molineux, along with his entire backroom staff. Lopetegui took over when they were at the bottom of the table and turned around the fortunes of the club that saw them finish in 13th place with 41 points from 38 games including wins over Liverpool and Tottenham. During this short period, he built a deep emotional connect with the staff and players and revealed a tearful farewell that happened less than a week before they began their 2023-24 Premier League campaign.

WHAT THEY SAID: “It was not easy for me. It was a pity," he told The Athletic.

"I remember a lot of workers, and us too, we were crying. The environment and the commitment that we have created at Wolves in a short time is not normal. And I remember this with a big, heavy heart. This was special."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: After seeing off relegation with three matches to spare, Lopetegui wanted to target a top-half finish in what would have been his full season in charge. However, the club informed him that they do not have the resources to back his ambitions and the two parties parted ways mutually.

“But for different things, the club cannot do this kind of project,” he said. "When we started pre-season, they told me that it’s impossible to develop this project. And we decided to part ways."


Julen LopeteguiGetty

WHAT NEXT? Lopetegui is ready to return to the Premier League for his next assignment but insisted that the "project has to be real" and his vision must be aligned with the club's as well.