Days before the start of the 2018 Premier League season, Wolves recruits O’Neil as their new manager to replace Lopetegui

Wolverhampton hired Gary O’Neil as its manager on Wednesday in a speedy response to the departure of Julen Lopetegui just days before the start of the new Premier League season.

O’Neil returns to the English top flight seven weeks after being released by Bournemouth, despite defying expectations by keeping the south-coast team in the Premier League.

The 40-year-old O’Neil replaces Lopetegui, the former Spain and Real Madrid coach who left Wolves on Tuesday because of a breakdown in his relationship with club officials amid its reported financial problems.

Wolves’ first game in the Premier League, which opens on Friday with Burnley vs. Manchester City, is at Manchester United on Monday.

“He’s a highly motivated young coach with strong principles and very well thought of by everyone he has worked with, and we’re excited to see what we can achieve together at Wolves,” sporting director Matt Hobbs said of O’Neil, who has signed a three-year deal.

“Our players have shown their quality during preseason, and I believe Gary and his team will continue to coach and improve them and will have success working with this group.”

Wolves finished last season in 13th pace, having been in last place when Lopetegui took over in November.

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