Nuno Espirito Santo labels December’s victory over Chelsea as a “very important moment” in Wolves’ season, as he prepares his side for the return clash at Stamford Bridge.
Wolves ended a six-match winless run with a change of formation and fantastic performance against the Blues before Christmas and have since suffered just four Premier League defeats since. The change of system has had a positive effect and the mental strength of the group to overcome that poor run and hit such heights since speaks volumes, according to Nuno.
On the turning point after last Chelsea win
“That was a very important moment because it ended a very bad moment – a run that we had, so it was a turning point on the competition. We know it’s always up and down, and when you have something that doesn’t work out, it’s about bouncing back and recovering the standards again.
“We did it against Cardiff after a bad performance, so let’s sustain the consistency and look to challenge ourselves on Sunday.
“It’s the difficult part of football, to achieve consistency in your performances during such a tough competition because you face such good opponents. It’s very hard, a big challenge, but one of the things we try to do.”
On Chelsea’s threat
“We look at Chelsea and know what we’re going to face. Fantastic football, a fantastic manager. They will be very difficult, but we have to try and be focused on what we can do to prevent Chelsea from playing.
“It’s one of the important aspects of the game, then, when you have the ball you have to play and we know how to play. To avoid Chelsea being comfortable during the game is one of the strong aspects.
“Higuain is very good. I faced him at Juventus, very good player, one of the best strikers in the world. It’s difficult (to play him) because he’s a one-touch player, his finishing is very accurate, so Rui (Patricio) has to be ready.”
On the strength of his group
“We have strength. We made a decision very clear in January. We reduced (the squad) and a lot of aspects made us take that decision, but I think it was the right one. It allowed every player of the squad to be really involved and have minutes of competitions. What we want is to keep on growing and the best way to grow is to allow players to be involved during the games.
“The credit is for the players, the way they prepare themselves. We have a small squad, everybody knows, we realise the reality. Every player is very important and last week was a moment of happiness.
“During a cycle of three games in a week, the third one is always the one that requires more attention from us. The decision was made, we had time to level everybody in terms of intensity. I expect a good answer - looking forward.”
On Adama Traore’s impact
“Adama has something which is unique worldwide, he always has space to give to the team. His speed, his one versus one, there are not many players in the world who can achieve this kind of performance.
“In that moment the team required that option, both wing-backs. It goes back to the squad, we didn’t have to persuade him, what we have to do is make him believe and realise the team itself is different, so you have to adjust, but the team must exploit the maximum talent Adama can give us.”