Nuno Espirito Santo is hoping home comforts will benefit his side tomorrow night as Wolves return to Molineux for the first time in five matches for their Europa League clash with Slovan Bratislava.
Wolves have spent the previous two-and-a-half weeks playing away from home, including a win in Bratislava against Thursday night’s opponents, and is calling for the Molineux crowd to get behind his players as they look to make it three wins on the bounce in the competition.
On confidence among the squad
“It’s like always, no matter what momentum we have, we are always confident that we can compete. We cannot expect things to happen, we have to make them happen, and we are ready for tomorrow.
“We played good [against Arsenal], a lot of positives, a lot of things not so good – always the same analysis – but we did a good performance.”
On making a positive start to games
“It’s important to start the games well, I will not say a fast start, but to start well, manage the game knowing that the game has different moments – you have to defend, you have to control the ball, but we always want to start controlling and managing the game.
“If you can be a better team during the first minutes, then I think we can impose that and sustain throughout the game. That is what we want.”
On significance of away win in Bratislava
“It was important, and the performance was good, especially in the second-half, but Bratislava is a very good team. They caused us problems in the first-half, we had to adjust, and we expect a tough game tomorrow against a very good team.
“We have to play the game, try to compete, perform, knowing that Slovan is going to be a very tough team. We have to be organised and play. Play and compete well, which is more important.
“We want to play, we want to perform. We are back in Molineux after a while of not playing in front of our fans, and we want to perform well.”
On being back at Molineux
“We’ve enjoyed it; we’ve embraced the challenge and are enjoying it very much. Tomorrow night we will be playing in front of our fans, which is how we want it.
“Sometimes, even when we are away, they are a massive presence and they make us feel like we are in Molineux, but tomorrow we are in Molineux and it feels good.
“It’s been four games [since last match at Molineux] and we’ve missed them. We want them close to us.”
On fitness of his players
“[Matt Doherty] He’s ok. He’s recovered well from a knock on his knee. He did struggle, but he’s recovered well and he’s ok.
“[Morgan Gibbs-White] He’s struggling with the same lower back problem - pain - we decided to keep him inside today to offload it a little bit, but let’s see for tomorrow.
“We are trying to do a good job in terms of recovering the players, knowing that when you compete, these things can happen, situations can happen, injuries can happen.
“What we try to do is manage and prevent them before in a very detailed way and then after taking care of them and give them some time to recover. If we decide not to go on the pitch, it doesn’t matter that he’s not an option, it’s our decision, a medical department decision to see what’s better for the player.”
On Adama Traore’s impact
“He’s an option. We’ve been using Adama the way we think is best for the team, but he’s one of many options that we have to consider.
“What we want is to play well as a team, knowing that each player individually can bring new things, solutions and talent.”
On versatility of his players
“I think all the players have to be versatile and learn to adapt to different positions. Adama is one of the players who is able to do that, he’s been doing well, but we have other players who are in the same situations.
“Building a small squad like we have, you need versatile players. I think it’s our job to look at the players, see how they can improve and eventually if they can do a different position. It happened with Coady, for example.
“Since the beginning, even Matt Doherty was playing on the left side of a back four just over two seasons ago, so I think it’s our job, and the job of each manager, to find out the best of each player that we have.
“I hope it’s good for their confidence to discover these new abilities, Adama is confident because we trust him. We base the decisions on the analysis that we have and the beliefs that we have.”