Nuno Espirito Santo knows Molineux will once again be rocking for the visit of Manchester United in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday evening.
In a rematch of last season’s quarter-final in which Wolves were victorious over United, Nuno understands that this evening’s third round will pose a completely different challenge to the one his side faced just under a year ago.
At his pre-match press conference yesterday afternoon, the Wolves head coach spoke about last season’s FA Cup heartbreak, January signings, and Pedro Neto’s recent performances, as well as setting the record straight on rumours linking Patrick Cutrone with a move away from the club.
On his FA Cup history with Wolves
“Last season was good, but we start tomorrow a new one. A competition that we enjoy – we want to compete and play.
“We got over [the semi-final defeat to Watford]. It was only a couple of days of grief. It was very sad, wasn’t it? But we overcame that. Not only me, I think everybody involved felt that sadness, but that made us stronger. When things happen in life, you grieve and then you get up and fight again. This is us.
“Let’s compete tomorrow, let’s play tomorrow. We want to compete tomorrow, to compete well and to play good in front of our fans. Playing at Molineux is what we enjoy more. Our fans, the way they support the team is amazing and tomorrow is going to be a fantastic atmosphere at Molineux, so we have to deliver.”
On taking on Manchester United
“We always want more, but we are starting tomorrow against a difficult and tough opponent. Man United are a fantastic team, we are looking forward to the game.
“It’s a new game, new things will happen – a new challenge and we know it’s going to be tough. I want a good performance. An organised performance. A performance with no mistakes, things we cannot afford to have. From the previous game you try to improve for the next one and must perform better.”
On FA Cup team selection
“We have to decide and prepare for the game. We didn’t have, like everybody knows, too much time, it’s a couple of day, it’s more about recovering the players and now we decide.
“We go to the hotel, rest and tomorrow will see who starts.”
On January signings
“We need to bring [players in], who I will not share with you because I think that’s not the right thing to do. Especially when there’s so many rumours going around and names – it doesn’t make sense at all. If I start speaking about these things, the rumours will grow.
“Wanting and wishing is totally different than reality. Now is time to work alongside the club to make the right decisions.”
On Neto’s improvements
“Pedro joined us late after having a couple of seasons with not a lot of competition. I think it took some time for him to adapt to the demands of the competition that we were involved in, the rhythm of the game, the schedule, and having the small amount of time we have to recover.
“He’s adapted well and now he’s integrating into the team and getting the dynamics of the team. Individually he has a lot of things to improve. He’s a very talented player, but he has things to improve.”
On Cutrone rumours
“At the beginning of the season he had five games in a row. He had a lot of moments, then other chances didn’t come. But every player needs to compete, and every player needs to compete in the right moments when we decide is the right moment for him to compete.
“He’s a good player and he’s here with us. All the things that come out, it’s [journalists] who put these out or Italian newspapers. It’s not us. He’s here with us.
“He’s training well, so let’s see. Tomorrow, for example, he’s an option. As long as you are around the squad and you are fit, you are an option.”