Nuno Espirito Santo has praised Conor Coady and Joao Moutinho in the build-up to a Premier League clash against a manager and opposition he respects greatly.
The duo are two of Wolves’ ever-presents this season and are expected to feature once again on Wednesday night when Wolves face a Sheffield United side which have taken the Premier League by storm this season. Promoted last May, the Blades have attracted plaudits from across the division for their unique tactics and impressive points tally, and Nuno is no different, holding great respect for Wilder, which dates back to their days battling it out in the Championship.
On Moutinho’s game tally this year
“It says a lot about Joao. Joao is a top professional; he’s experienced, he knows how to handle a very tight schedule of competition, during the process what you have to do, and Joao does it every day.
“I think it’s not only this season, he’s been as competitive throughout the whole of his career. He’s a natural competitor; he loves the game, he loves to train, he loves to compete, and he enjoys passing this knowledge to younger teammates. That’s so good for us.”
On Coady’s past link to the Blades
“I remember something about that, but I don’t think it was ever an option. It was three seasons ago, I recall, but I understand why Chris [Wilder] wanted Coady, but I’m happy that he stayed here.
“He’s the captain of the squad and he leads by example. There are not many players who have the same number of matches in competitions like Coady, so that tells a lot.
“He’s improved, he’s mature, an experienced player, but he has the same hunger as a young man. He loves to play, he loves the game, and he just wants to compete well.”
“He’s the captain of the squad and he leads by example. There are not many players who have the same number of matches in competitions like Coady, so that tells a lot."
On the job Wilder’s done
“We know Sheffield United, I know Chris. It’s been a while, three seasons since we competed in the Championship, and he told me I was magic.
“He’s the real magician, he’s the real one, because I recall that when we played them, I started looking at the process and he played the same players, with the same ideas, in League One, then he came into the Championship, then he’s come to the Premier League with the same squad, so he’s the real magician.
“The dynamics of the team, the beliefs of the squad, the way they interact with each other, the knowledge they have of each other. I really admire and respect them a lot, not only Chris, but his staff. They are really, really nice people, so my assessment of them is fantastic.”
On the Blades’ tactics
“You can do things, but you have to be aware of what advantages and disadvantages you can have. I think the team dynamic of Sheffield United is incredible, enjoyable and one of the aspects is this situation of the centre-backs getting involved in attacking situations.
“I’ve seen it before. Football was invented a long time ago, but you just have to go back in the history of football to see just how incredible things have changed.
“In the ‘50s and ‘60s the tactics were 2-4-4, only two defenders on the pitch, but the game is so rich in dynamics that you can extract things. But doing it well and making a success of it is what I believe is right.
“It’s amazing for them to do it [in the Premier League]. From League One into the Championship and now the Premier League, with the same group of players, that’s why that’s so remarkable.”
On Wolves’ away record
“We’ve been able to perform during the season while away, but at the same time it tells you that you have to improve at home. Now, with this situation, I think the home factor has disappeared, so it’s just another game.
“Honestly, it’s just like playing in a neutral venue during these moments now in the Premier League. The home impact of the crowd is not there, so you have to focus on what is inside the pitch. Nothing that happens outside can take away your levels of concentration inside.”