Nuno Espirito Santo insists his side’s victory over Manchester City last month will have no bearing on how they perform against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Wolves return to Premier League action after taking on Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup in midweek, where the head coach made wholesale changes to his starting line-up and included nine Academy players in the matchday squad.
Nuno knows his team have a tough test on their hands when they travel to North London this weekend and spoke about how important the youth culture is at Wolves to get the team through a busy fixture schedule.
On challenge posed by Arsenal
“Arsenal is a totally different game [to Manchester City] and a totally different opponent, but we know it will be very, very difficult. Arsenal has a fantastic squad, a very good manager, so it’s going to be very difficult tomorrow.
“Tomorrow is a new game, history in football does not repeat. Arsenal have a lot of quality players, well organised, the have speed and have good quality with possession on the ball. It will be very tough challenge against a very good team.
“We don’t look at the table. We compete against every opponent that we have in front of us in all competitions.”
On the tough fixture schedule
“It has been a big challenge for everybody, for the squad, for us, for the club and for our fans – we are embracing the challenge.
“It’s not easy, it’s not easy at all. It’s very, very demanding, especially on the players. It’s very demanding because of the time of recovering, the amount of games we have, the high level of opponent that we are facing, in Premier League, in the Europa League and in the cup – it’s very demanding.
“Having experience before helps you but doesn’t make it easier. It is always a big challenge and I think it’s always going to be harder.
“We always think about [team selection]. We always take a lot of time to prepare, time to find the best options, finding the right solutions. It’s always a big challenge, like I say.”
On turning draws into wins
“We’ve had good performances, we have had not so good performances, ups and downs, but this is all about competition – raising our standards and always performing on the highest level we can. That is very, very difficult to sustain throughout competition.
“We have to pay attention to the opponent that we have. All of our opponents have a lot of quality, just like the opponent tomorrow. Sometimes it’s not always what we want to do, it’s doing what the other team allows you to do. We have to defend and we have to be organised, sustaining that level throughout the game is one of the things we want to achieve.”
On encouraging a youth culture at Wolves
“Having ambition in the young players is what will make us stronger in the future. Knowing that they want to be in the first-team group, they have to compete well in the under-23’s.
“Not only play well but train every day and in every moment in the training sessions with Mark [Kennedy] and Scott [Sellars]. All of them have this ambition because we trust them.
“This is the philosophy we are trying to build, we want to create an identity. The academy are doing a fantastic job, the young boys are playing in the same shape as us and are trying to find the same approach.
“We are trying to build players and make them grow. Having a small squad, and we have said this from the beginning, they are going to be involved in every training session. We count on them, but it’s step-by-step.
“They need to grow and need to perform. You can’t expect them to immediately give you the response that you want, that takes time and takes patients – but most of all, we believe in them.”
On blooding young players at Villa Park
“What better atmosphere and environment will you have than at Villa in front of 30,000 people and a big, big game.
“This is when we want our young players to perform and give answers, knowing we have to be patient and we have to be careful with the analysis that we have on them, but this way they will be ready because this is the reality.
“We’re going to play tomorrow at the Emirates in front of 60,000, so they have to be ready.”