Nuno Espirito Santo admires the way Sheffield United and his opposite number Chris Wilder have taken to the Premier League as his Wolves team meet the Blades at Molineux this weekend.
The head coach, who admits Thursday’s Europa League draw was a difficult ordeal on his Wolves players, knows his team have a tough task on their hands on Sunday afternoon if they are to get a result against United as fifth and sixth in the top-flight table go head-to-head.
On recovering from Braga
“For many of us; technical staff and players, it felt special because it is your country, but we were there to compete and we did we compete well, we played well, and I think we are stronger now.
“It has been difficult, very demanding for the players; playing, travelling and recovering, no days off, and very demanding for the players, but the response has been amazing.
“They truly embrace the challenge. They truly believe that they can compete, no matter how much time we have between games and this is the philosophy prepare for the game and compete.
“The players are ok, but now is the time to recover. It was a very difficult game, the pitch was very, very heavy, the rain, the game was very intense, an emotional game.
“We started 3-1 up, but in the second-half Braga reacted, and we played a very good game of football, but at the same time it was very demanding. But now it is time to recover, we have a couple of days to recover, and on Sunday, Sheffield United.”
On preparing for Sheffield United
“We will be determined, prepared – we have to prepare well because Sheffield United is a fantastic team, with good players.
“Chris is doing an amazing job. It is going to be hard, but always we have the same approach, trying to play how we want to, what we want to get from the game, knowing Sheffield is going to create many difficulties.”
On matching the Blades’ high standards
“I recall when we faced Sheffield United for the first time, they had just been promoted from League One. During a lot of time that year, Sheffield United was alongside us, so that shows the progression that they are making.
“Under Chris they play the same shape, the play with the same philosophy and they are doing fantastically well, so we know how tough it is going to be. I truly admire them because it is a very intense team on the pitch. They know what to do. They go always with high standards; maximum intensity and we have to level that.
“There are no excuses for not doing that. They have to match them, but at the same time try to put our talent on the pitch, our organisations, and make our ideas stronger.”
On Joao Moutinho’s new contract
“I’m very pleased. What Joao has been doing is amazing. Not only what he does on the pitch, but outside the pitch; the way he helps the young people, the way he transmits all this prior experience he had through the years in a lot of big clubs, a lot of big events.
“Joao is a European champion, so these things he gives to the young lads is really, really amazing, so we are thankful and pleased.
“It is part of the philosophy of the group; we integrate the new ones, help transmit your experience, but at the same time, the young people also give us a lot of teaching. This is also a learning process, so it’s this mix – the way they gel, the way they work among them is amazing and this is the strong point we have as a group.”