Nuno Espirito Santo was pleased with the competitiveness of his Wolves side as they secured their place in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup with a comfortable victory over Crystal Palace.
Adama Traore’s thunderbolt effort made all the difference, and the head coach expressed his delight in a ‘special goal from a special player’, while welcoming back Leander Dendoncker from injury, and returning loanees Morgan Gibbs-White and Patrick Cutrone, in a strong showing in their first match of the historic cup competition for this season.
On respecting the FA Cup
“It deserves to be respected because it’s the oldest competition, and we respect it a lot. We want to compete, and we want to go as far as possible, like we always try.
“It’s a competition that we always want to compete in, although we go game by game, and now we have to focus on the Premier League because it’s going to be a very tight schedule.
“We’ll see the draw, and when the game comes, we will compete like we did today.”
✅ Win— Wolves (@Wolves) January 8, 2021
✅ Clean sheet
✅ Fourth round
A solid night's work at Molineux 👏 pic.twitter.com/rnGs5gQyUg
On victory against Palace
“I think we played good. The first-half was very good in terms of possession of the ball, we didn’t allow any space, we were very compact, closing the gaps and the pockets, and we played very good football.
“We were able to have good combinations, but in the second-half, it was not so much, but we had a good chance with Leander [Dendoncker] which could have killed the game, but we worked very hard.
“Players playing out of position and the players coming in from the bench, but the attitude was very nice. In the middle of the park we played very well in terms of possession and our defensive work. The three midfielders played very well.”
On Traore’s winner and substitution
“A special goal from a special player. I’m very happy for him because I think this goal will boost his confidence.
“It was a cramp, but he’s a very special player, who is explosive with his actions. He’s very difficult and we just didn’t want to push him anymore because we have a very tight schedule in front of us with some very tough games. Let’s see how he is now, let’s assess him, but besides the goal, he worked very well for the team, and this is what pleases me the most.
“He’s been trying [to shoot with his left foot] and he’s really trying harder in training sessions and that’s why I’m so happy because he’s got a will to improve, which is amazing.
“Adama is a versatile player and he can play in a couple of positions in the pitch, and one thing he shows every time he’s on the pitch is that he causes a tremendous impact on our opponent.”
On injuries affecting his options
“It’s the reality, but it’s improving. We saw Leander come back today, I hope Boly will join us soon, Raul [Jimenez] is getting better, Jonny is getting back also.
“We know what they [Gibbs-White and Cutrone] have, we have all the data from the loads on Morgan from Swansea, he’s been training on his own for one month, Swansea put him on for five minutes, they were intending to go 30 minutes, so we have to introduce him step-by-step.
“With Patrick, it’s exactly the same because we value what they did with their previous club. Today, they participate, they did good, and this is what we expect from them.
“We just have to live with this situation, go through, move forward, but I’m positive that things will improve.”
On playing while country’s in lockdown
“It’s a tough moment. Right now, it’s a terrible moment for society, for us, for everybody, but I don’t know [what should happen next].
“I know that everybody has made a big effort to restart, everybody’s making a big effort [to continue], all of us cannot get away. I, myself, have issues with my family, but I don’t know and don’t have an honest opinion on that.
“Football will suffer so much that maybe we don’t football anymore, but I think that everybody should sit together, the Premier League, the FA, ourselves, and all the decisions are made on the dialogue, listen to everyone’s opinions and move on from there.
“But we are in a decisive moment on what will be the future of all the competitions.”