The Premier League Asia Trophy clash between Wolves and Newcastle United will have no bearing on Sunday’s league clash, Nuno Espirito Santo insists.
Wolves came out on top in Nanjing, claiming a 4-0 victory over the Magpies, but the head coach knows that his players will face a much-improved Newcastle side when the teams face off at St James’ Park in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
On test facing Wolves in the north-east
“It’s a tough challenge, we saw their previous game at home and now we take a look at the game they played against Chelsea and try to always look at their weakness and their strengths but for sure it’s going to be very difficult.
“We played them in the Asia Trophy. I think Steve Bruce is someone who is connected to Newcastle and you can feel that in the team – that passion that they have. It’s going to be tough but knowing that we also want to go there and compete and give a good fight.
“[Beating Newcastle in the Asia Trophy] is not relevant at all. It was at the beginning of the season for both teams. The analysis that we make now is that they’re a very good team, an organised team with a very good shape, defensively they have no space, no gaps and very good players.
On having the fewest number of shots in league
“It depends how you see it. If you are clinical, if you don’t have many shots but if you are clinical and you score - fantastic! If you have a lot of shots and you don’t score, you have a problem.
It depends, but it is one of the aspects that we have to improve, of course. To be able to score you have to shoot but shoot in the right moment, don’t shoot because of the stats. Shoot because it’s a good option.
“We see the game, of course the stats are something that you have to look at because they are facts, but we see the game, we see the dynamics of the game. How long do you take to recover the ball, how long can you keep the ball?
“If your possession ends up in an action that allows you to finish in a proper way. The stats are a tool for help, but it is not the main thing, of course not.”
On Patrick Cutrone’s form
“He’s integrating into the team, it’s not easy to come and be already where they expect them to be but it takes time but the best thing that we have is that he’s onto it, he works hard so it’s up to us to decide but of course all of the players that came are integrating in the spirit of the club and the squad so we’re expecting good things from him.
“It’s not easy but it’s a challenge for him. This is what we want from players, to take him out of his comfort zone and always be able to upgrade your performance, be versatile enough to play in different positions and different shapes and systems is one of the things that the players must be ready because, nothing is internal.
“Sometimes you have to decide which shape you use, regarding the options that you have, the momentum of the players. Which players are in the right moment to be used also, the schedule? All these things have been managed well but I think we have a lot of room to improve, a lot of room to improve of course.
“I’m always positive because I love what we do here and we want to play, we want to compete, we want to make our fans happy – that’s what we work for. We have to be positive every day.”