Nuno Espirito Santo is calling on his players to make the FA Cup semi-final with Watford a ‘special game’ as Wolves prepare for their first competitive cup fixture at Wembley Stadium in 31 years.
The head coach, who has also expressed his joy at Raul Jimenez becoming a permanent member of his pack, has also urged his team to not think about anything other than Sunday’s game.
On excitement surrounding the FA Cup semi-final
“We look forward to it, we want to play it, we want to compete – this is the spirit that we have.
“You just go around on the streets in Wolverhampton and you feel the excitement and the emotion of our fans. We know there’s going to be 34,000 of our pack there and we’re thankful for that.
“We’re going to play the game together, we’re going to compete together.
“You have to know how to play it, you have to focus on the game, don’t think about anything else, don’t think about what it could mean or what happens after. Just focus on the game, make the game special.
“This is the best way to approach competitions – play the game, action after action.”
On ‘special’ Wembley trip
“It’s Wembley. It’s special. Just saying Wembley means a lot to everybody involved in football. It means a lot to us, it means a lot to our fans who’re going to be there. Wembley is special.
“For both sets of fans, for both teams, it will be special, and we look forward to it, but what we’re focused on is being prepared.
“We still have tomorrow and there are a couple of little details that we still have to work on and on Sunday we’re going to be ready to play and compete.
“We will have the support of our fans which will be fantastic.”
On the challenge of Watford
“It’s going to be very close. Watford are a very good team, with very good players, a very good manager and are very organised. We expect a very tough game against a very good team.
“The performances that they’ve been having and the players they have, the manager they have, it will be a very tough game.
“Both teams have changed since we last played. It was a long time ago and it will be a new game, a new challenge, nothing will repeat, so we have to be ready for it.
“We analyse all of our games, that was one of them and we can clearly see what their intentions were on that day, and we have to be ready for it. At the same time, we have to play the game with our own idea of what we want to do on the pitch and compete.
“We have faced many tough opponents, Watford is one of them and it’s going to be tough on Sunday.”
On permanent signing of Raul Jimenez
“I’m very pleased we have signed Raul, especially because of who he is, how he is, his behaviour, his character and the performances that he has been having, but mainly because of what he gives to the team.
“It’s good that we’ve got the deal in place. The decisions we’ve been making take a lot of time as we have to analyse things and we’ve been doing it quietly, in the times that the club thinks is the appropriate moment.
“These decisions happened last season, it happened at the start of the season with the players we signed after being on loan, and it’s happened this season with Jonny. The decisions are made quietly, thinking, and taking all the right steps to do it.
“We thought signing Raul before the end of the season is better, because this way he will be more relaxed and more confident on the way that he has to work.
“There is more to come from him, but there is more to come from all of the players – there’s always space for improvement. Raul has to keep improving, keep getting better and keep helping the team.”
On new Wolves signings adapting straight away
“It’s because of the way the squad embraces player that come, so that’s credit to the players that are already here. They were here before last season and this spirit among them is what makes new players and newcomers feel integrated in a short period of time.
“The spirit among the team has been positive. We are aware there are good moments, there are bad moments in football and what you have to be is prepared and never lose the spirit or unity that exists between us.
“Together; helping each other, supporting each other, it’s been there before, it’s now and it has to be there in the future.”