Nuno Espirito Santo said he is yet to decide on which of his Wolves players will start the game against RCD Espanyol tomorrow evening, with a full squad to choose from – with the exception of the injured Jonny.
The head coach, who insists his team’s mentality is that the tie is still all square at nil-nil, said despite the 4-0 win in the first leg at Molineux last week, whatever 11 he picks from his 20 man squad will have a tough test ahead of them at the RCDE Stadium on Thursday night.
On first leg advantage
“The approach is the same. It doesn’t mean anything what we did before. This is a new game, a new challenge, new things will happen, so we have to compete well.
“Not almost nil-nil, it is nil-nil. This is how we face it and we are aware it’s going to be very tough. It’s a tough stadium to come and we have to be very focused.”
On Espanyol’s changes in the first leg
“I wasn’t surprised. The situation of Espanyol is what you know, so I wasn’t surprised, but they are a good team and it was a tough game.
“Espanyol started the game very well and they have quality all over the squad, they have quality players, so we will see what happens tomorrow, but for sure, we’ll face a team full of quality players and it’s going to be tough.”
On squad selection for Thursday night
“I haven’t decided yet. We still have a training session today and then we’re going to make a decision, but the process is always the same – try to find the best solutions for the team.
“Everything’s ok, we train now and prepare and play the game tomorrow. Everything is ok. Jonny is not ok, he didn’t come, he stayed at Compton.
“We have to evaluate because he had a strong kick. You saw the images, there was a very strong impact, he’s in pain, but he’s going through the normal procedures and hopefully he doesn’t stay out very long.”
On possibility of Podence’s first start
“We travelled with 20 players – 18 outfield players – a full squad with the exception of Jonny, and we could see anyone.”
On first impressions of Campana
“I think he’s adapting, he’s growing, and it’s about that. In this moment is about the team receiving him and us trying to tell him what the best way it is for him to grow as a player; it’s inside our philosophy and it will take time but he’s doing well.”
On bringing young players on European trips
“I think it’s a good experience for them. We’ve been doing this, how we approach our squad and the back-up of the under-23s. Today there is not an under-23 with us, but Max [Kilman] and Oskar [Buur] are here, and it’s a high level of competition to be involved in, not only here but all the games of the Premier League.
“This can only make them grow in their career as people as well as footballers. For them to come and experience these kinds of atmospheres is good for them.”
On balancing Premier League and Europa
“I wouldn’t say we’ve not suffered, it’s been tough with a tight schedule, very demanding on the players and I think the credit is on them – the way they compete, the way they prepare themselves to compete, but it’s tough, very tough.
“When you see the schedule; we play Europa and then only have two days before we have to play a tough game always in the Premier League, so it’s been very demanding. The credit is for the players, it’s for the staff, but the players buying, believing and working very hard, is what makes things go well.”
On fan support
“We are very thankful. Tomorrow we are going to have our support, but it has been this way since the beginning. Our fans are amazing in the way they support the team and we are very thankful for that.”
On aims for his Wolves career
“You know me, I’m focused on the training session of now. I want the players to be focused, I want the players to adapt to the stadium of Espanyol, I want them to make a good preparation for the game, and we play good tomorrow. That’s what I’m focusing on. The only thing I’m thinking about.
“When I came to Wolves, I didn’t think that [winning the Champions League]. I just came in and worked every day before to prepare. I saw a lot of games of Wolves in the previous seasons in the Championship.
“We worked very hard to make the best decisions for the first day that we came, trying to get the players that we needed in that moment to come, and prepare the squad well for the season that was ahead of us in the Championship. That was what I thought.”