Nuno Espirito Santo provided mixed news on his squad in his pre-match press conference as he prepares for Sunday’s Premier League clash with West Ham United.
While excited by the new arrival of Nelson Semedo, who has settled into the group quickly, the head coach said it’s “unlikely” fellow wing-back Marcal will be fit for the London Stadium clash. Nevertheless, Nuno is positive heading to the capital, where he’ll be hoping his side can replicate the victories picked up on their previous two trips to West Ham.
On Semedo’s arrival
“We’re bringing a high-quality player. A talented player. A player who played at the highest level of European football and for his national team. He’s a good character, I think he fits, and has integrated very well in the team.
“Now, it’s normal, all the players, no matter the talent and quality they have, it’s all about inside the team what you can give. He arrived two or three days ago, he’s integrated well, he’s working and let’s see how he progresses. We are very happy to have him.
“He’s going to compete at the highest level of football, against the best teams around. It’s a simple communication to him, so say, ‘This is a new challenge which will require the best of you’.”
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On Marcal’s fitness
“He’s one of the issues that we have. Let’s see, but I’m not very confident that he can be available for this game. It all depends how the player gets better. Now, he’s not training, he’s in treatment. We had a diagnosis already, he had an injury in the calf, so let’s keep on trying to treat him and hope he can get better and be available.
“We have some issues that we have to assess. We had some issues in the last game, some knocks, but we still have the training session of tomorrow.”
On Podence’s growing influence
“We have to realise Daniel joined us in the middle of last season, just before the terrible situation of the pandemic, so it disrupted the understanding and what we had in mind. I think he finished the season well and he has started this season very, very well.
“He’s growing, understanding the idea better. He has talent, he has quality, he’s a hard worker and has been able to perform well for the team. We hope this continues, the normal growth of a player within the dynamic of the team.”
On good history with West Ham
“We’ve played good, performed well. All these things made good performances in London and here, but we know Sunday is going to be totally different. A new game, new challenge, we analyse West Ham and we are facing a tough opponent. It’s going to be difficult for us.
“Our philosophy is simple. Each game at a time. Our approach is always the same. Don’t think about anything else, action after action, inside of the game, compete, our philosophy since day one.”
On West Ham’s Covid-19 issues
“I wish David Moyes the fastest recovery and also the players infected. What happened to West Ham can happen to any of us, as a club, as a squad. It’s tough when you are preparing a game and see you can’t count on certain players and you yourself cannot be on the touchline.
“It’s very disruptive. There’s always this fear that some of us have a problem, how far this contact and infections spread inside your group. It’s difficult, everybody knows that. From our point of view, we’re not concerned, we are confident and trust the authorities to keep things healthy and safe for us.”