Wolves entertain the Premier League leaders at Molineux this evening, and Nuno Espirito Santo is looking forward to a ‘fantastic’ game against Liverpool as he insists his side will be fully motivated for their 40th match of the campaign.
The two busiest sides go head-to-head at Molineux, with Wolves having played the most games of all Premier League clubs so far this year, one more than Liverpool who face their 39th tie tonight. But Nuno understands how important the return to fitness of key men Diogo Jota and Willy Boly will be to his squad, as well as the upcoming winter break, which will allow his players time to relax ahead of a busy finish to the season.
On facing Liverpool at Molineux
“A fantastic game for us, fantastic chance to challenge ourselves, a fantastic chance for Molineux to enjoy another great game.
“We need a good performance. We have to play, we’re going to face a fantastic team, a fantastic manager, fantastic players. They are very good and they are doing things very, very well. It’s a very good team. I don’t know [if they’re greatest ever Premier League team], but they are a fantastic team
“All these things motivate us, so we have to focus on ourselves, how we want to do things and compete. Always insist the word is compete; when you compete, you don’t give up on anything – every ball is important. We’re going to play the game.”
On taking confidence from Anfield match
“The confidence is here because of the way we do things. It’s not about who you face, or all these things. There’s no such thing.
“The confidence is because we believe and trust the way we do things and we want to play, knowing that the game has numerous ways to be played, numerous situations can happen, and it’s how you react and give solutions to the problems that will come against you.”
On avoiding conceding early goals
“Of course, but you cannot guess what’s going to happen. What we’re going to do is prepare ourselves well, like we always do, and play the game.
“We have to compete well, we have to have the ball, we have to defend, stay organised, our fans will be behind us, it will be a fantastic atmosphere and we have to enjoy the game.”
On fitness of Jota, Boly and Vinagre
“Of course, I am pleased [to have Jota and Boly back], it’s been a while and they’ve recovered well. They train, they work with the team, so now it’s up to us to decide and work on it. We still haven’t totally decided, so will have to prepare it.
“We miss every player. We missed [Bruno] Jordao and Morgan [Gibbs-White] when they were out, with the circumstances that they had, the way we operate, the way we do things, when a player is out, we miss him a lot.
“Vinagre has had a scan, the injuries in the tendon, so will take some weeks to be back.
“All the players are important. The players that are here, our back-ups, the players that are going to come – all the players are important because we still have a lot of competitions in front of us.”
On the upcoming winter break
“Having more time allows you to have a different approach on the training ground, it always your player to recover well and to work with a different intensity when you have more space between games, so it will be good for the players that have been out and will be a good chance for them to improve.
“We’re going to play our 40th game tomorrow, so it’s a lot of competitions, but we are embracing the challenge, and it’s now a good moment to take some time to look at what’s coming ahead of us because it’s going to be as intense as what’s been before.”