Raul Jimenez will sit out of Wolves’ pre-season trip to Asia to allow the striker to rest and recover ahead of the vigours of a second season as part of the pack.
The Mexican enjoyed a rip-roaring debut season in the Premier League and instantly adhered himself to the Molineux faithful with vital goals which saw him named the club’s top scorer. In the close season Jimenez lifted the Gold Cup with Mexico, as well as being named Player of the Tournament, and Nuno Espirito Santo is insistent that the striker, along with Romain Saiss who has been represented Morocco this summer, gets adequate rest before competitive action begins on 25th July.
On Raul’s absence
“We don’t expect to have Raul back with us until 22nd July. It’s the same programme for all our players who were away on internationals, they have two weeks off after their final game for their countries.
“For Raul, you look at his season last year and he had a different season than all of the previous three seasons before. We have to realise what we’re going to do, it will be a big mistake, in our opinion to force him and not give him enough time to completely recover and rest.
“I think that’s important to him and Saiss, as well as Morgan, who only started working on Tuesday. There’s a lot of adjustments which are important, Raul and Saiss will not go to China, but will be back here on the 22nd.”
On preparing for a new challenge
“It is a new challenge and a new year. It is going to be tougher than last season for sure. We cannot rely on the optimism of the (previous) results. We are going to be in four competitions and all these things, but at the same time I expect the players to keep improving.
“It is going to be tougher because the season will demand a lot more from us. Time between matches and the games, we have to look at that. It will require more from us. That is not the message to players because the message is always inside of us, it doesn’t change.
“Now (in pre-season) is like filling up a bottle, each day that you don’t put a little inside you are going to miss it for the future. You have to work hard in the training session and prepare ourselves for what is coming in front of us.”
On last season’s reflection
“We did OK. Of course, there were moments where you reflect and you look back and say: ‘Well done, the boys really worked hard’ and achieved far more than we expected in terms of performance and the ability to play against big teams.
“Of course, we did the work of analysis – now we can say we went beyond outside expectations. It is not normal for a club from the Championship. I think the team has progressed and has played better than the season before. This is the expectations we have.
“It is (about) staying the same, nothing is going to change this year, no matter we have Europa League qualifications and the cups. Nothing is going to change, we are going to go game by game and we are preparing game by game.”