Nuno Espirito Santo admits his team will be ‘trying to survive’ over the coming weeks as Wolves face three matches in six days – and two in less than 45 hours – during the festive period.
Following Friday evening’s match with last season’s Premier League champions Manchester City at Molineux, Wolves will travel to Liverpool on Sunday afternoon before visiting Watford on New Year’s Day. Nuno’s side will then return to Molineux on January 4th January to host Manchester United in the Emirates FA Cup.
But the Wolves head coach is not pleased with the ‘absurd’ slate of fixtures, as he awaits a ‘fantastic’ team in the shape of Manchester City after the Christmas festivities.
On festive fixture schedule
“All the teams have strong cases [to complain to the Premier League], but of all the schedule, we are the team that has less hours in this period – 45 hours between two games and 112 hours between the three games until New Year’s Day.
“It’s going to be very tough, I think all of the managers are concerned and rightly so. I’m particularly concerned because I’ve been saying this; the schedule doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd. For all the teams.
“Of course, there are teams that have three days [between matches], but I don’t know what the particular reason why it’s us as Wolves who have less hours, but it’s a concern for all the managers and for all the players.
“We have to survive. We have to survive. Let’s see what happens. We will train tomorrow, then we prepare to play Man City, and we’ll see. Let’s try and survive.”
On assessing season at half-way point
“It’s nice to hear the recognition, it’s the way people see us, but we know that the way we do things, how we do things is more important than what we’ve been achieving.
“How we’ve been able to compete, game after game, with the squad that we want, with the idea that we want. It’s important to realise with who and how we are doing things.”
On the test of Man City
“It’s a fantastic team, with fantastic players and a fantastic manager. There’s nothing more to say. It’s amazing the way they play football, it’s amazing in the quality they have in their manager and their players, so it’s going to be a very tough challenge for us.
“Every game in the Premier League is a cup final.”
On Christmas plans
“It’s a special period for everybody. I think everybody wants to join their families and have some quality time, but we know at the same time we have to compete, and I think we can separate everything and enjoy.
“We will have time to spend with our families.”
On fightback at Norwich
“It says we’re always ready to compete no matter what the circumstances are, no matter which opponent, we are always ready to compete.
“I think all the team improved a lot on their performance in the second-half. We reacted immediately after we talked about what happened in the first-half was not good, so I think it’s a big step on our growing to adjust and immediately look for a new solution and do it the way we do it, is fantastic.”
On the improvements of Adama Traore
“He’s getting better day by day. It’s one of the things we always try – to improve players day by day knowing there will be ups and downs in their performance, but we keep on trusting them, and believing them, and finding new solutions for them to improve their shape and their performance.
“I think all the team is in the right way. All the players have improved. We’re trying all the players to improve. Always, always, always.”