Gary O’Neil says PL rules changes have really affected key Wolves midfieder

Gary O’Neil wants his Wolves players to be more disciplined in the future, and claims rule changes have had a big impact on Mario Lemina in particular.

The Wanderers will be without several key players for the encounter against Bournemouth following the international break.

Lemina was sent out after receiving two more yellow cards against Aston Villa.

Nelson Semedo was also booked again, bringing his season total to five and resulting in a one-game suspension.

Lemina receiving two yellow cards to equal a red versus Villa effectively means he will remain on four yellows.

So when he returns from missing Bournemouth, he’ll still be walking the tightrope.

Gary O’Neil gives his thoughts about Wolves’ disciplinary issues, and says Lemina is trying to change his ways

However, it is problematic because the possibility of players being cautioned has likely never been higher as a result of recent rule revisions.

Players across the board appear to be getting booked considerably more frequently.

“It depends what they’re for and each booking is different – there’s some I’m disappointed with and we talk about, and there’s some that are unavoidable in the modern game and how easy it is to get booked now for certain things,” O’Neil admits (Express & Star).

O’Neil claims that Lemina, a feisty and aggressive midfielder worth £10 million, is eager to change his ways.


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“Adapting to new rules and guidelines this year means things Mario’s been getting away with for 10 years, have instantly been stamped out this year,” O’Neil said. “He’s attempting to adjust to that.”

“I’m trying to make sure we’re controlling our emotions, which can be difficult but is important, because we want everyone available.”

Wolves players must control themselves better

This has actually been a bit of a problem in Molineux for quite some time.

Wolves received the most red cards last season, with six, albeit one awarded to Matheus Nunes against Leeds United was later overturned. Wolves also concluded 2022/23 with 84 bookings, the most in the Premier League.

Wolves have received 24 yellow cards in the league this season, second only to Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

It is now much easier to obtain cards, and the Wolves players must work extra hard to keep their emotions in check.

It can be difficult for them at times, especially in the face of referee incompetence. But, as O’Neil points out, he needs everyone to be available.


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