The way Ruben Neves committed himself to his job this week, after missing the birth of his child in Portugal, made Nuno Espirito Santo proud.
The 23-year-old was absent from the birth of his third child, being unable to fly to his home nation, but not deterred by that blow, Neves conducted himself with utter professional for the good of the team and scored a crucial equaliser in Tuesday’s win over Arsenal. It’s that dedication to the pack, and acknowledgment of the importance of the whole group right now, which particularly pleased Nuno, who is now preparing for the fresh challenge of Leicester City on Sunday.
On Neves’ commitment to the cause
“Unfortunately, the decision was made for all of us, we are not able to travel. The corridor is closed. Even if you want to, you will not find a solution. That decision was easy to take. The commitment that he put into the situation was what makes me proud. He never doubted that, now in this moment the team needs the each of each one of us, every moment, every day.
“I’m totally confident it would happen with all of our players in the squad, because we are really committed to it. We know, and are aware of the situation we are, of the issues that we have, and the unity, and protecting the team in this moment is more important than anything. So, I’m truly positive, no matter which player, the circumstances, the decision would be the same.
“Ruben joined us four seasons ago, he came from a big club, and he joined Wolves in the Championship. From that day, Ruben has totally embraced the challenge that we had. He’ll keep on doing that every day of his life, as long as he’s here, of course. It’s not only about the birth of his child, every day since 2017.”
On the boost for Moutinho
“It will help him for sure. The most important is what is meant for teammates, fans, club, it was a big moment and a beautiful goal. I’ve seen it many times now and the line of the ball is beautiful. I watch all the game and that many times on the replay.”
𝐴 𝑀𝑜𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑛ℎ𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑝𝑖𝑒𝑐𝑒— Wolves (@Wolves) February 4, 2021
On the satisfaction of a win
“They were happy, but we were aware that the game had different circumstances that happened. Mainly, it’s the happiness because we did our job, we played our game – the first-half with problems, the second with circumstances, but we did our game and the feeling was that we accomplished what we wanted.
“We must improve in terms of competing, every duel, and that was there. The priority – recover, the routines stay the same.”
On meeting to address issues
“We had several meetings. We are always talking to each other, but there was a chance to refocus, reset, because we are aware of the problems we have. We are aware of the circumstances we are going through and players coming back, other players not being able to attend all the games, so it was about that, realising that us, in this moment, as a group, what the team needs.
“What they can do to help the team, it’s not about you playing in your position, it’s about realising that versatility is needed in this moment and it’s all for the team. That was the main focus of our meeting.
“What we need is the best one of us for the team. What the team needs and what we need from each other, and realise with the problems we have, we have to change players from their positions and that requires an extra effort from our players. Understanding the situation is what can help improve us.”
On his continued belief
“My energy is on my work now, totally. Totally committed, positive, aware, responsible – it’s me, this is how I see things and interpret things. The best I have to do is dedicate everything, all the energy that I have. It’s hard, but it’s necessary and required, this is what is more important. What the team needs from each and every one of us and my position is my total commitment.”
On Kilman operating at left-back
“We are reasonable enough to understand that it wasn’t his main position. More important than that is we still need options and we must gather as many as we want and Max is one of them, so he has all the confidence and support, more than that, trying to help him find a better way to approach defensive situations when he’s out of his own position.
“From my part, really thankful for the effort Max did and he has to keep on going, because we still have problems, not only Max, but all the players. This was our main message between ourselves – what the team needs, it’s not about you.”