Nuno Espirito Santo reiterated the importance of an improved performance by his Wolves players against Crystal Palace this weekend.
With Wolves still searching for their first Premier League victory of the season, the head coach insists that winning with an unimproved performance from their Europa League outing against Braga on Thursday night is not the answer, as his side travel to Selhurst Park on Sunday.
On his players’ confidence
“If we perform well, that is the perfect scenario. But if we win without the performance, then we still have a problem. What we have to do is improve our performance.
“The players cannot have any doubts, there will never be doubts, because the way we work, the way we play, the ideas that we have is what has brought us here – from Championship to the Premier League and now Thursdays and Sundays, challenging in the Europe League.
“No doubts – the way is clear. That is the case for all of them, with no exception. Those that came here and are still integrating the idea of the team, they have to improve; those who are here long, those who’ve not had the best moments – all of them.
“With a small squad, we need all of them and everybody has to raise their standards and perform.”
On preparing for Crystal Palace test
“We don’t base our analysis on the result. We base our analysis on the performance, so [against Braga] I think we improved from the last performance.
“The result has an effect on expectations outside, that we have to manage them. This is what we have to work on as a group, speak to each other, have dialogue, because one thing I don’t do is ever abandoned a player.
“I don’t abandon a player; I realise what’s happening, if he’s not performing well, where can I find the solution to help him and go back again. This is what I do.
“The expectations outside are based on results, our analysis is based on how, finding solutions, how we do things, get along with the players, speak with him, show him the way and improve.”
On raising their levels
“It is about the collective; everybody. Us as managers, coaches, staff, we all look for the details that can help us in terms of recovering, because this was what we did before and we did it well.
“We have to recover well, rest well and prepare for the next game.
“Not only at Wolves, life is full of ups and downs. To sustain is the most difficult thing that there is. We have to be ready for ups and downs. When you are down, what can you do to go up again. This is the reality.”
On the challenge facing him at Selhurst Park
“Crystal Palace are a very, very tough team; a team that has been playing with each other for a while now, they have a lot of complicities between them, good players, so it’s going to be tough, especially in a stadium that is tough to play against.
“We’re going to have to go there and challenge ourselves, but Palace is tough. There’s no easy game in football.
“[Last season’s victory at Selhurst Park] can give us something to work, but they came here to Molineux and they won, so this is about the team, what is Crystal Palace now and where can I find their weakness so we can repeat what we did last season.”
On young players at Wolves
“Morgan Gibbs-White played good [against Braga], he tried to unblock, he had situations, he worked hard, he tried final passes; he’s talented but he’s a young boy. He has to improve and help us.
“There are also players coming through. A few months ago, we were with them in pre-season – there’s a lot of talent in the Academy and when it’s the right moment it will come, but they still have a ladder to go up, step-by-step.
“The young boys coming through is a challenge for us also.”