Following the shortest pre-season in recent memory, Wolves will be back in action on Monday evening as Nuno Espirito Santo travel to Bramall Lane and face Sheffield United. Here are five things to know ahead of the pack’s opening match of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
1. A FOUR-DAY PRE-SEASON
Exactly one month ago, Wolves were in Europa League action, aiming to reach the semi-finals of the European competition for the first time since 1972, but their continental campaign fell short as Nuno’s men lost to eventual champions Sevilla. Just four weeks later, Wolves are back for the 2020/21 season, but preparations for the campaign have been disrupted due to last week’s international break.
With nine members of the first-team squad only returning to Compton Park for the first time this season for pre-season training on Thursday, it’s been the quickest of turnarounds, with Nuno being given just four days to prepare his team for Monday night’s clash with the Blades. Their opponents, on the other hand, have had a much longer timespan to prepare, having not played a competitive match since 26th July. United have already got four pre-season friendlies under their belt, with wins over Dundee United, Hearts and Derby County before drawing 2-2 with Preston North End.
2. BEDDING IN THE NEW BOYS
Not only has Nuno had limited time to work with the majority of his players from last season – with the exception of Matt Doherty, who is now at Tottenham Hotspur, Bruno Jordao and Morgan Gibbs-White, who are on loan spells with Famalicao and Swansea City respectively – but he’s also integrating three new players into his squad following their arrivals at Molineux in the past week. Portuguese striker Fabio Silva made the move on Saturday from Porto, Brazilian defender Marcal joined from Lyon on Sunday and midfielder Vitinha was a loan signing from Porto on Wednesday evening.
All three met up with their new teammates this week, with Silva and Marcal joining in with training for the first time on Tuesday, while Vitinha travelled back with fellow Portugal under-21 stars Pedro Neto and Ruben Vinagre, in time for his first training session with the whole squad back together on Thursday. However, settling in Wolverhampton and adapting to Nuno’s system might be made slightly easier for the trio, having joined the large contingent of Portuguese speakers among the club.