Nuno Espirito Santo admits he is full of admiration for the work of Brendan Rodgers and Leicester City ahead of his Wolves side going face-to-face with the Foxes this weekend.
The Wanderers head coach, who has been nominated for the Premier League’s October Manager of the Month award after guiding his side to an unbeaten month, insists his team are not in great form despite having not suffered defeat since a 4-0 loss to West Ham United in September, and acknowledges that there is still plenty of improvement to come.
On being unbeaten throughout
“The team is not in great form, the team has a lot of things to improve. The beginning of the season has been hard for every team and we’ve been able to reproduce good performances, but to say the team is in great form is not correct.
“This is the reality. It was a very quick turnaround for all the teams, and you can see that football has changed, the dynamics have changed a lot, even in the Champions League you’re seeing crazy results, so you cannot think that you are already there because you are not.
“Look at the last game. We had a difficult game and the VAR situation saved us, if you want to say so. We have to realise that is was not a perfect game, so it’s not a perfect moment.
“Football is made of ups and downs, so we have to be ready. It would be absurd for me to say here that we are perfect, because we’re not.”
On an improved defensive record since West Ham defeat
“The West Ham game really showed us. It was our main focus after that and you can see an improvement on our organisation; more compact, more solid, not allowing too many chances, and things that are part of us.
“But the West Ham game was a big moment for us in terms of what we quickly need to improve. You cannot be in the game if you are not strong enough in defence and you cannot think about competing well. The starting point was obvious.
“That game made us realise that in the circumstances that we had, how difficult it is when you are not 100 per cent on your action. It’s not about getting angry and shouting and kicking things, it’s about looking at the games, looking at the training sessions, looking at the players and what can I do inside my job to help you be better.
“We knew what the problems were, and we knew that the solutions were inside of us. Knowing that, let’s work, and we still have to work. Honestly, it’s not even in our minds that we are already ok. We are not. There are a lot of things that we must improve.”
I look at Leicester with real admiration. Not only because what they achieved as Premier League champions, but probably one of the hardest moments that they had with the loss of their owner and how they united themselves as a club, was amazing.
On facing Leicester
“Leicester is a fantastic team and you can see in their previous games, even yesterday against Braga, how well they played. Brendan Rodgers is an amazing manager and they are really doing well. We expect a very tough match on Sunday, a very tough match, but we want to play, we want to compete.
“Last season, we faced a calendar like Leicester, with only three days between games, it’s really hard, but you consider how well Leicester are doing, and yesterday, you can see a team that has competed very well with a lot of talented players.
“We played our last game Friday, it’s been a week now, it’s long ago, so we are delighted to go back and compete.”