Nuno Espirito Santo insists he knows what it means to compete in the FA Cup and that he’ll name a strong team to reflect that on Friday evening.
Wolves begin their campaign in the world’s oldest cup competition against Crystal Palace at Molineux, and Nuno knows, particularly from his side’s 2019 run to the semi-finals, how important the competition is. The cup tie comes in the midst of a hectic period, which has seen Nuno recall Patrick Cutrone and Morgan Gibbs-White and, while this season continues to ask serious questions, the head coach knows the group will rally together for answers.
On the FA Cup
“It’s a tough game against Palace. A good team and a new competition for us. We have good memories of the FA Cup and we want to play good, perform well and proceed to go as far as we can in the FA Cup.
“For us, it’s Friday, we prepared for the game, went to the hotel, did a good meeting, and want to perform and compete a good team. It’s the FA Cup, we know what it means, everything is decided on the day. We trained penalties because we want to do whatever we can to continue.”
On Ruddy starting
“He’s going to start. He’s been working very hard, very well. Always, since we arrived, we always do that in cup competitions. John has been doing well.
“We always go with the strongest team we believe. Our idea is always go with the strongest, best way for us to compete. It’s always our mindset.”
On the Brighton result
“When you score three times away from home, normally you must bring the game to you. It didn’t happen because we made mistakes but the positives, the capacity of the team to find a way to score, but at the same time we have to look at the negatives and this is our priory. We are conceding too many goals and we must defend better.”
On a challenging campaign
“I’ve been aware of the challenge since the beginning. Since the end of last season, everything has changed, become more difficult, harder to plan, so I’m aware that we are facing a new cycle, we are trying to do things better and different.
“The players, we expect more from them, players that come have to adapt quicker. What we did in the past, our success, only is an inspiration for us, it can never be a point of comparison. Let’s work harder.
“What you can control is how you work, which mindset you have, what you want to change, how you can do things, and be aware of the change that requires patience, support, sticking together, working in the same way.”
On Cutrone’s new slate
“Everybody, every day has a fresh start. It’s a new beginning. For Patrick also, it didn’t work out before, for numerous reasons. Everybody was aware what happened, but we never had an issue, never had a problem. He integrated well into the squad, a good boy, let’s work together.
“Life teaches you many things and gives you good lessons. I’m hopeful he had a good learning moment during this bad moment for him.”
On Gibbs-White’s development
“I think we should thank Swansea, and at the same time apologise for the situation, I hope they understand it. He was doing well, and he had a manager that gave him what he was missing – playing every game. The impact Morgan had at the beginning of the season was huge. We followed him carefully and it was a good experience for him.
“He was very happy to re-join us. I see the same Morgan in terms of happiness, willingness to play football, but I must now address him on the pitch because he only trained on Thursday, he’s getting back to his fitness, but our main idea was for him to grow and I think he took advantage of the chance at Swansea.”