Nuno Espirito Santo was pleased with the character shown by his side to fight back to take a point at Arsenal, but the head coach is urging his Wolves players to ‘break the cycle’ of falling behind in games.
The draw at the Emirates extended Wolves’ unbeaten Premier League run to six matches, but it was also the sixth time this season his team have had to come from a deficit to secure a league point. Although his side could have taken all three points back to Wolverhampton, Nuno was happy with the performance on display in North London.
On a positive opening to the match
“We started very well, the system worked well, possession of the ball, clear movements, and we opened Arsenal, created chances – but we must defend better.
“We must defend better because everything becomes harder. In the first-half, Arsenal then started to control the game and the speed of the game was more in favour of Arsenal. The game of possession, the game of control; and at that moment we need to change our speed, take the game again to our side.
“But it was much better again in the second-half on that aspect. We must be satisfied [with a point]. They scored at a moment that we should be better, but the way we started, the character that we had, the possession of the ball. But we were much improved in the second-half in terms of reacting when we lost the ball, all of the aspects.
“I’m not frustrated, I’m happy, but we must look at the aspects of the game we need to work on to make it better for next time.”
On coming from behind to claim a point
“The way we fought back was good, it’s fantastic, but we must change the cycle. We must try to harm first – that will help us because we have a lot of games ahead of us.
“We’ve already played too many games and what we’re expecting is more games, so managing the games is always better when you control the result and the other team takes more risks – but that’s the next step. Let’s try to keep on going.”
On catching Arsenal out with a quick throw-in
“I think we caught Arsenal out, and we finished the game on the front foot. We had chances and every time we went on the break there was a feeling that we could harm more.
“But the boys tried, they engaged a lot of people into attack, but it didn’t come.
“I’m happy because we worked hard, we maintained and showed character, and this is the growing process that we want. We want to go to every stadium and play with our identity.”
On upping their game for the ‘big six’
“We enjoy every game, every game in all the competitions. For us, it’s not about the demand or if you are up or down, no, it’s compete, compete, compete – over and over again – always ready to compete.
“Even with a short squad, we are always going to be ready and this is our spirit, it’s not about ups and downs, it’s about competing. Let’s compete and sustain this performance that we have. That is the main challenge in front of us.”
On Raul’s 11th goal of the season
“He’s a very good player, he’s a very good man – a fantastic boy. He works very hard, he believes in himself and he works for the team. I am delighted, and we are delighted to have him.
“But not just Raul; Diogo, Adama, Ruben, Joao, Rui – everybody. The team spirit that these boys have, the way they gel, the way they work for each other is amazing and this is how we make our strengths.
“Alongside with our fans. They were cheering up and supporting us, so let’s try to make this journey together and make it successful.”
On Matt Doherty coming off with an injury
“Let’s see how Matt is. I hope it’s nothing serious, but we have other options. Players go down, other players come up.
“We have to manage well and we always have the back-up of the under-23s which we trust, and we will always be able to compete. This is what we want to achieve – always a strong 11 to compete, no matter where.”