Nuno Espírito Santo says that the players controlling their emotions to focus on their individual tasks provides the best way to try and enjoy derby day success in tonight’s big game at Birmingham City (7.45pm).
Wolves Head Coach has already spoken about players and staff recognising the importance of local pride in a derby like that taking place at St Andrew’s, but is also mindful of the best way to achieve those local bragging rights – by playing their normal game
“We have to enjoy these derbies – it means a lot for the fans and is a big game for us,” says Nuno.
“It is a derby game and that is different, but also it is still just a game, and that is what we are focused on.
“When we arrive there we know it is a derby but we are ready for the game.
“This is what we control – what we can do on the pitch and our emotions on the pitch.
“What we do in the game is what impacts the game.
“The atmosphere is in the stands and for the players it is about concentrating on their tasks and focusing inside the game.
“Birmingham are a tough team, and it is about taking care of our emotions during the game and that is the most important way to go about your tasks.
“Deal with your emotions but never stop playing and never stop going for the win.”
Ruben Neves is suspended for tonight’s game having accumulated five bookings so far this season, and Nuno is confident that either Alfred N’Diaye or Jack Price will be confident in stepping in.
Wolves have also benefitted from a full week of training with the game having been put back to this evening.
“Neither Alfred or Jack would have anything to prove, because of the way they work,” says the Head Coach.
“The way they work every day gives us full confidence for Monday.
“They prove themselves every day of the week.
“It is very important for us that players can come in and do the same job.
“It means that from the squad we can always build a strong 11, no matter who is out.
“We are still able to put out a strong eleven and the credit goes to the players who keep their focus or dedication waiting for their chance.
“It has been a long week without a game but a good one.
“It came at a good moment and gave the boys a chance to recover well.
“It has been a good week of work and everybody is ready to go.
“It has also been different from the international breaks because we had all the players here, building together.”
Whatever happens this evening, Nuno is also confident that no one within his staff or playing squad are getting at all carried away by the impressive foundations already in place as Wolves approach the halfway point of his first season.
“What we have done so far is good for us,” he says.
“The boys are working very well and very hard and that is how you achieve results.
“We have a new challenge against Birmingham and dealing with the present is our focus.
“We still have a long, long way to go.
“Everybody in this building knows that and we need to keep our focus.
“I wouldn’t say I am surprised with how things have gone – we are pleased with the work the boys have been doing since day one.
“We came in with an idea which we have prepared and planned for and the players that we had and the players that came in.
“We put it together into one philosophy and we build from there.
“We still have a long way to go – it is not perfect and not done yet.”
*Wolves have sold out of their allocation for tonight’s game. Fans without a ticket are urged not to travel to St Andrew’s.