By Eleanor Crooks, PA
Bruno Lage hopes Diego Costa can help toughen up Wolves defender Max Kilman.
Former Chelsea and Atletico Madrid striker Costa has been training with the club for the last three weeks and could make his debut against West Ham on Saturday.
The Brazilian-born Spain international has built a reputation as a tough and combative presence up front, and manager Lage believes training with Costa can be a positive influence on 25-year-old Kilman.
“I want him to put some marks in Max because Max needs that to be a better player,” said Lage. “Max is a kind man, big professional, but he needs to understand that, to arrive to the next level, (what he needs) is training against Diego every day.”
Costa has had plenty of disciplinary problems in his career, but Lage is not concerned, saying: “It’s the first thing he told me. He said to me, ‘I’m a nice guy outside of the pitch, but I’m very nasty inside of the pitch’.
“It’s the kind of players that we want, players with character and personality to help us to win games. Inside of the games there is no friends and you need to fight for the club. I think all the managers want players with that personality.”
Wolves have struggled for goals this season and turned to Costa following injuries to forwards Sasa Kalajdzic and Raul Jimenez.
It seems highly unlikely he will play the full game on Saturday, with Lage saying: “He can start the game or he can finish the game.
“After one week of training I was a little bit concerned about him, but the last two weeks, while I’m watching him training with the team, I’m so happy what he did.
“What is important is to go step by step. He knows how hard it is to play in the Premier League.”