Wolves will not be underestimating the threat posed by Crusaders when the two sides go head-to-head for the second time in a week on Thursday night in Belfast, Nuno Espirito Santo has said.
The visiting Wolves take a 2-0 lead from the first leg of the Europa League second qualifying round tie into Thursday evening’s second leg at Seaview, but the head coach insists there will be no complacency among his squad as he encourages the players to play the game as if it’s still scoreless.
On his Wolves squad
“When we travel and have all the options it’s good. With the exception of Matt Doherty, everyone is available so for us as coaches that’s good.
“The squad is good, it still needs options – solutions. What (new signings) Jesus (Vallejo) and Patrick (Cutrone) are going to give us are more options to always choose a strong line up.
“Our idea is the same we’ll keep the same numbers of players because we trust the way we work and let’s hope for the best.
“We’ll train and decide (on the team to face Crusaders). All the players are at different levels of condition and we have to manage it all. But they are here so they are available of course.”
On Wolves’ travelling support
“They are always important – they make us feel at home. In almost every stadium we have been together. We are very thankful and delighted they come here to support the team one more time.
“We need them and together we are always stronger.”
On the 4G pitch at Seaview
“We’ll see how the players adapt to it in training. We don’t have a lot of experience of this. But they assure me with water it’s almost like natural grass. Let’s see training and we’ll assess on Thursday.
“We also have to adapt to the weather and perform. We have to be careful to hydrate the players, but we are ready to compete no matter the conditions.”
On his assessment of Crusaders
“It was a tough game (last week), they showed they were organised and difficult to break and we expect another tough and difficult game.
“They were organised and they were well placed in the pitch, good shape, tough to break, and their spirit, of course, they fight for every ball, put bodies in front of the goal; it was tough.
“My assessment was good, and I made sure I personally said that to the manager (Stephen Baxter), because it was a tough game and we expect the same on Thursday.
“We can’t consider playing this game feeling that we have a leading score – we must treat it like new game and respect Crusaders. It doesn’t matter the lead or how many goals advantage we have – just play the game as if it is 0-0.
“The job is not done. This is one part of the game we have to control but have an experienced team and we prepare well.
“I don’t know (if they will create more chances). What I do expect is a tough game and we must perform good, be organised and compete well.
“The best compliment that I think there is in football is respect, when you respect your opponent, and we respect Crusaders.”
On Adama Traore’s defensive work
“We have to work all the aspects of the player that we think we have to improve. On all the squad we do the same. With Adama, some of the aspects of the game that he has to improve we work on and we focus more on that.
“With other players, the process is always the same. You look at the player, you analyse the player and figure out how to improve him and make him better, so you try to be more and more focused on that and more determined on that aspect.
“At the same time, keep the good things that he has – all the players have – and improve on them. But it’s just looking at the player and trying to figure out what can I do to help him and make him better.
“I think we have a very versatile squad. Many players can make different positions on the pitch, inside the shape of the team, so this is just one of the things that we like and we want to improve on it.”