Nuno | Raul has a ‘will to return’

The return of Raul Jimenez to Compton Park this week has brough a huge lift to the Wolves squad ahead of this weekend’s West Midlands derby with Aston Villa, according to Nuno Espirito Santo.

The Mexican striker was guest of honour at the training ground as he was greeted with hugs and smiles after reuniting with teammates for the first time since sustaining his traumatic head injury.

Nuno was delighted to see his star striker once again and spoke about how there is no time frame on Jimenez’s return to football but did say that the number nine has a desire inside him to play once again.

On Raul returning to Compton Park

“It was a very happy moment. It was very good for his teammates that they were able to see him. He was good, smiling, recovering well.

“It was a huge moment for everybody to be with Raul again. He’s ok, he’s recovering well, he’s positive and starting to get ready again.

“It means a lot after that situation to see him, to hug him, to see him smile and to see him progress. It’s very good for everybody and just to see him come back is fantastic.”

I don’t think that he’s talking about it, but I’m sure that he’s feeling it. He has this desire inside him that he wants to return, and this is the most important step – he wants it.
Nuno on Jimenez

On bringing positivity to the squad

“It was a big lift for everybody involved. We saw how bad the situation that happened was, and to see him smiling was a big lift for everybody.

“For his teammates, a huge lift, because they see someone that had a serious situation recovering and he’s on his way back to being the same person that he was.

“He was totally normal. His teammates are friends and they are curious. They asked him questions like, ‘How are you feeling? Do you remember? How are you now?’

“But he’s ok, he’s the same Raul – smiling, positive, and it’s so good to have him. We’re having normal conversations, we already spoke about the team and how we see it, so he’s ok.”

On Raul’s motivation to return to the pitch

“In this situation, we don’t have a timetable. We have to follow the protocols, but mainly it’s about getting him healthy again. There’s no rush, we have time.

“I don’t think that he’s talking about it, but I’m sure that he’s feeling it. He has this desire inside him that he wants to return, and this is the most important step – he wants it.

“He will be given time, but he wants to return. Raul is a player who needs to be inside of the pitch; he’s so talented, so good, and so important for us. I know in his mind is this will to return.

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On seeing the Mexican at Molineux

“He had breakfast with us today, so he could easily come to the match tomorrow. But it’s about the decisions with the doctors who are with him to see if it is the right moments to do it.

“When you are at a match, your emotions are there. It’s about that. But he was having breakfast with us and saw the training session today, so he can easily go to Molineux.”

On Jonny’s return to training on the grass

“He’s doing very, very well. Jonny is a very strong player, which you can see from his physique, but he’s doing well and now we have to have some time to assess properly, not make any kind of mistakes, but he’s doing a fantastic job alongside the medical team.

“We’d love to have him back as soon as it’s possible. But like we always do, we don’t rush things, we take things carefully and no need to risk a situation, so we are confident and totally trust our medical team to assess the right time for Jonny to re-join us.”

On a tough year so far

“I think it’s still a very challenging and demanding season because it’s different, there’s disruptions, and we want to improve and keep on growing.

“It’s very challenging for us, and, of course, without Raul, even more challenging. But at the same time, it’s something we have to embrace as a squad, and enjoy doing it.

“It’s been hard for everybody, but it’s not fair on me to have any kind of complaint. In football, we are privileged within society, so it is not far for me to complain about anything.”