Nuno Espirito Santo is pleased with the organisation of his well-travelled side as they took a point away from Leicester City on the opening game of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
Despite a controversial VAR call to disallow Leander Dendoncker’s second-half effort for an apparent handball by Willy Boly, the head coach felt both sets of fans would have believed their teams were unlucky not to claim all three points.
On Leicester stalemate
“First of all, it was a very good game, a very good game of football; two teams intense, organised. I was talking with Brendan (Rodgers) and he said that – what a game.
“Leicester is a very good team, very organised and have players who caused us problems, but we were organised and in shape – we didn’t concede too many things, they had more of the ball, but we had good chances also.
“We go home with the sensation that we could have had it, but Leicester could have it also because they had chances, they had the ball and they created a lot of problems for us, but we defend well, and we counter-attack. We had these chances and things will come naturally.”
“I didn’t see the images. I must see the images. But I trust them, if they saw it – what can I do, they have a TV that can stop the image.
“I’ve been informed by my assistant that it’s probably handball from Boly, is it a handball? Six months ago, it was a goal. These are the questions everybody is going to make and it’s causing discussions.
“What I’m concerned is let’s not ruin the game, things that were before should not be now. We have such a nice Premier League, such a nice product, we cannot lose it.
“It’s what fans come here for, not to celebrate when it’s not a goal, that’s not the real celebration of football, we celebrate when it is a goal. In creating these moments, it’s not good for the atmosphere of the game.”
On length of VAR decision
“It’s too long, and then after the fans of Leicester, with all my respect, they celebrate a non-goal. That’s not the mindset of the game.
“When something is new, it always causes these kinds of situations, but when time goes by, and with dialogue, things will be okay and this is what the referee was saying, he was explaining the situation.
“I’m going to see the images, but we saw (the same) yesterday in the game and we’re going to see tomorrow and in the next week, until everything is settled down.
“Apart from that it was a fantastic game, an absolutely fantastic game.”
On competing across different competitions
“We do it with this mind set, this team spirit that they have; we cannot ever lose it. When you work close to each other, protecting each other, everything is easier.
“I want my team to compete, I want everything to be fair, and when we draw, lose or win – no issues. This is what the Premier League is about and I’m so proud of being here.
“But we are just beginning, everything is the legs, the miles that we’re doing, all these things we have to consider, but I’m very happy and very proud of the players.”
On the recovery of his players
“Of course, I was happy with recovery of the players. How can I not be when a player comes into the dressing room and he has given everything he has.
“I am a proud manager, of course, I am very proud of managing these players.”