Nuno Espirito Santo has reiterated the importance of the tight-knit family bond at Wolves, especially with his young squad experiencing this festive period away from home.
Although eyes will be on Sunday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur at Molineux, Nuno will be giving his players time off this Christmas so they can spend the day surrounded by their family, but with the Covid-19 pandemic affecting how everyone can celebrate together this year, the head coach understands how vital the support network is for his team.
On enjoying Christmas as a manager
“We must. It’s such an important moment for the family. Due to the pandemic, we have to stick by the rules, but it’s a huge moment for the family.
“Everybody should be entitled to enjoy it, so we’ll have one day to be with our families.”
On players spending the festive period away from home
“As long as we don’t break the rules with households and how many, but they’re going to be together. We’re going to support each other. They’re very young, away from home, so it’s important to have the support here.
“It’s a scary place for young people now, with the doubts around the pandemic and their futures. I think of my children, my older girl is three of four years older than most of my players and I see how she’s suffering, her doubts, and how important the support of the family is.
“Sometimes we forget behind the professional footballer that there’s a kid, a young player developing, growing and developing their character. It’s tough, but as a pack we stick together and support each other.”
He’s a young player, full of talent, who’s adapting. He was a big help with his movements, the way he held the ball up and he gained the penalty. He was confident enough to kick it very well.
On injuries affecting the squad
“We are not in a good moment. We have issues. They are dragging issues from the game of Chelsea, and even in the game of Burnley, on the bench there were players who we were not able to put on the pitch.
“We have issues and one of them is Leander [Dendoncker]. He’s improving, but he’s not with the group yet.
“Having time is always useful in this schedule, but we know what is in front of us. After the 27th we play 29th, so they are important days for us to recover players and get as many as we can.”
On being patient with Jimenez’s recovery
“The situation with Raul didn’t change much. He was here with us again; he’s doing what he has to do to try and improve.
“Relax first, recover his health, then will come the part of the physical improvement, the fitness levels, all these things. We have to be patient and that will take time.
“The transfer window is coming, and we are getting ready because we need to rebalance our squad.”
On Silva stepping up to replace Raul
“It’s good, it’s very important for him. He’s a young player, full of talent, who’s adapting and he’s getting the match pretty well. His team was not in the best moment [against Burnley] and he was a big help. He was a big help with his movements, the way he held the ball up and he gained the penalty. He was confident enough to kick it very well, but in that moment, we felt that we could give a last push.
“This is what we expect from the players who come from the bench, always to create an impact and Fabio did that, but we want him to do it again and again and again, so he can become better.
“We have to realise the situation that we are in. We didn’t bring in Fabio to be someone who we cannot count on, we’ve counted on him since day one.
“But we have to be fair, we don’t have Raul, a huge player for us, and we have to find solutions, try different ones, but we have to find solutions among us, and Fabio is a good option for us.”