Nuno Espirito Santo praised the character of his Wolves squad as they prepare to face a Premier League tie with West Ham United on Wednesday night – the team’s 28th match of the 2019/20 season.
After starting their campaign in July due to Europa League qualification, Nuno’s side have regularly played two matches in a week, but with the busy Christmas schedule on the horizon, the head coach knows his team will have a tough task on their hands if they are to maintain their unbeaten Premier League record which currently stands at nine matches.
On Wolves’ 28th match of the season
“I think it says a lot about the efforts of the players; the way they demand themselves, the way they work, the way they respect themselves and rest – it’s a lot about the character of the squad, not only this season, but I think from the beginning.
“When you have a fantastic group of players who really admire themselves, respect themselves and work like a unit, you want to bring someone to increase this, to help.
“In the Championship, we bought some players that season who we already met, but that doesn’t mean anything. A big credit goes to the players who were already here in Wolves, for the way they received us, for the way they embrace the idea of working together, improving and growing.
“It’s good, but the real credit goes to the players who were already here.”
On playing multiple games in a week
“It’s crazy. This schedule doesn’t make sense at all. In our case, I’ve already mentioned that we’re the team who has more competitions already and we’re going to play with 45 hours between games. It’s absurd.
“I hope [a solution can be found to ease fixture congestion], I really hope so. It’s crazy what we are demanding from them, the amount of games that we have, and the things is that with the national team games, with our international players, it becomes really tough.”
On challenge of West Ham
“West Ham is a very good team, fantastic manager, good players – they had a fantastic result [against Chelsea], and it’s going to be very hard. The quality in the squad of West Ham is there for everybody to see – very good players, very, very good players. We know that we will have to prepare ourselves well.
“But we play at Molineux, we are at home. I expect a full house, Molineux buzzing, and give us all the support that they can give us.
“The first one was at the beginning of the season, we scored in the last minute, we stayed organised for most parts of the game. It’s all about the organisation, you play and try to make your things but stick to your task, respect the game, what you have to do, but play and try to improve.”
On under-23s on the bench
“I think the back-up of the under-23s is always very important for us, and the chances for the boys come when something happens on the first-team squad.
“If we have absences in specific positions we will try to fill them with the under-23s. This is the case of Owen [Otasowie] – he plays centre-half, he can do midfield, we try to improve him and make him a valid option for us.
“It’s the philosophy [to develop players in multiple positions]. We have to create versatile players and the game is so dynamic. If you stick only to one position, you will struggle.
“So, find yourselves in different positions, find yourself in different situations, find yourself trying to find yourself new solutions for the game and we will improve you. The capacity to play different positions is good for the player and good for us.”