Nuno Espirito Santo has been delighted with the impact Jonny has been having since he came back into the squad following a six-month injury lay-off.
Having eased the left wing-back into action with two 45 minute showings against Leicester City and Southampton at Molineux before an extended 60 minutes at St Mary’s on Sunday – in which Wolves conceded just one goal when the Spaniard was on the pitch – Nuno understands that he needs to be cautious in the amount of time Jonny gets on the pitch once again against Leeds United on Friday night, so not to ruin the good work he has made to get back to match fitness.
On managing Jonny’s comeback
“We still have to be very careful on Jonny. The right training sessions allow him to recover well after each match. For tomorrow we still have to decide, but always knowing that he’s not yet totally prepared for a full match situation.
“As games go by, day by day, always with a good evaluation after the match of his sensation, how he feels, what he needs, there’s still some steps to take for him to be totally and absolutely ready.
“The plan with Jonny was, and is, on a daily process, trying to have good feedback on how he’s feeling, how he’s reacting to the competition. The first game was 45, the second game was 45, the third game we assessed at half-time and could see that he could go a little bit more, he was feeling good, so for tomorrow, it will be exactly the same.
“We did the previous assessment and the plan is trying to achieve more time, but in the right moments.”
On being pleased to have Jonny back
“There’s no doubt. He had the injury last season and in the early part of the season when we didn’t have him, we felt it, because he’s an extraordinarily player. He gives us so many things, being competitive, and we’re delighted he’s slowly coming back to his best.
“He deserves huge credit. Not only during the period after the injury, but since Jonny joined Wolves, his standards were always very high and he was very competitive, but there’s a lot of differences from before.
“Not only in Jonny, but all the players when they are away from real competition. It takes time, and Jonny is doing well, we’re pleased with the answers, especially on fitness levels, but he still has things to improve; the timing, the decision-making, all these aspects that you only get through playing games.”
On Leeds’ unique style under Bielsa
“It’s extraordinary the way that Leeds compete. I think they have created their own identity that makes tasks very hard for all their opponents and you’ve been seeing that.
“When you play Leeds, you have to be ready because if the game opens, it can be an advantage for Leeds, so we must avoid it. Trying to keep a good rhythm that fits us is better, but at the same time realising that Leeds is very good on what they do; the way they accelerate, the way they recover the ball, the way they press, the way they transform a defensive situation into an offensive situation with large numbers, or attack.
“It’s something that we have to be ready for. What we are focused on now, is trying to find the right solutions for tomorrow. We have to be ready for it with good answers.”
On exploiting Leeds’ weaknesses
“The clear advantage is the way they are able to work as a team and engage with so many people on their offensive situations.
“The way they press, the way they recover, the way they make you games so uncomfortable on a man-to-man situation, but at the same time, it opens spaces that we have to take advantage of.
“Players like Adama [Traore] can create problems to all the teams. To all the opponents in the world, because Adama is so special. In the case of tomorrow, clearly, if we are able to find the good situations to promote one-v-one situations with Adama, we can have a big advantage on it.”
On Willian Jose’s performances
“I think he’s improving, knowing his teammates, and his teammates are starting to recognise better his characteristics. We have to be aware that he came from a different competition, adapting to the Premier League is not an easy task, but we are supporting him and trying to give him the right tips and advice for him to improve.
“He has to keep improving and keep committing himself, keep doing what he is doing. Tomorrow he is going to play and he’s going to face tough opponents, very good defenders, and there are some things that he needs to challenge himself at and overcome.
“At the same time, the team is here to support him and help him, because what he’s doing for the team is very good, we need it and he’s giving back.
“Things will go better and I’m very happy with Willian and the way he’s helping the team, so I’m optimistic regarding Willian and his performance in the team.”
On players travelling for upcoming international matches
“It’s a big concern for everybody and for all the managers. All the squads in the Premier League have many players from national teams, and the current situation does not allow players to travel, or persons to travel, to some of those countries, so everybody is worried.
“Everybody’s waiting for a decision, so we can allow players to normally go to their teams, and then return safely and compete. This is the big issue. There’s no manager at this moment that aren’t concerned about the welfare of their players.
“We are tested two times a week and each time there is a test you are concerned, even for yourself. It’s what we’re living through as a society, and it impacts directly on football of course.”