WOLVES BOSS Julen Lopetegui has backed young Irish midfielder Joe Hodge to get over his penalty miss in the League Cup quarter-final against Nottingham Forest.
The game went to extra-time after a 1-1 scoreline and penalties followed.
Forest won the tie 4-3 with the 20-year-old Hodge missing the final and decisive spot kick against Dean Henderson in the shootout.
It was a cruel moment for the Wolves player, but that is the nature of football.
Despite this Wolves newish boss Lopetegui praised the Irish player for having the guts to take a penalty despite being so young.
Forest progress on penalties to the semi-finals of the League Cup, with Joe Hodge missing Wolves 5th penalty. Took balls to take that, a learning experience for the talented Ireland midfielder. ☘️#greenshoots pic.twitter.com/7C0Ci1q9KX
— Éire Guide (@eireguide) January 11, 2023
"I want to highlight his commitment and character," Lopetegui told the club website. "But this is done and the players that doesn't score the penalties are never at fault, but he wanted to take a penalty and show his character and this is all. He's going to grow and improve from this, for sure.
"I want to highlight the fight of the players again, because we have played three matches away from Wolverhampton and we haven't lost, but we haven't won. We need to win, above all today because it was a key match to continue ahead and we have a big vision ahead.
"We have fought a lot and it’s a pity for our fans because they are here and offering a big support for us, so it was a pity for all of us, but above all, for them."
Nottingham Forest will now progress to the semi-finals, where they face Manchester United, while Newcastle United will play Southampton in the other leg.
Before that Wolves will play West ham at home at 15.00 on Saturday.