Nuno Espirito Santo insists Wolves’ trio of nominations for Premier League monthly awards is a reflection of the whole group pulling in the right direction during February.
The Portuguese is up for managerial honour, likewise Ruben Neves for the player, while Joao Moutinho completes the trio after his stunner against Arsenal was put forward for the Goal of the Month award. The nominations came after an unbeaten February, however March began with defeat on Tuesday night, and Nuno now has his sights set on bouncing back at the first opportunity, in a game which he described as “special” – Aston Villa away.
On February award nominations
“It’s the reflection of fantastic work by the players during the month of February. We were able to react to not such a good moment and commit ourselves to good performances, so this shortlist is not me, it’s us, we are on the shortlist for the month of February.
“Ruben has been able to improve his performances because the team has improved also. All individual situations come after the evolution and progression of the team.”
On coming up against Villa
“Aston Villa have a very talented squad, many options, so we’re going to face a tough opponent. It’s always a big game, a derby is always a big game. It’s not the same [without fans], but derbies are always special for those involved.”
On bouncing back
“It’s very important and is one of our goals, to bounce back, and to play good tomorrow. We know it’s going to be tough, it’s a derby, it’s a special game for everyone, and we want to compete.
“Reacting to a defeat, the best way is the next game and hopefully we’ll do it tomorrow. The target is tomorrow and then after tomorrow, we don’t change our approach, it’s game by game.”
On taking positives from the City game
“When you don’t achieve what you want in the game, there is always a frustration on it. At the same time, many positives with the way we competed, the team was in the game, the team was competing.
“There were moments when City were better than us, there were moments when we were able to control on the front foot. When you don’t achieve what you want from the game, no matter who you face, you’re always frustrated.”
On Traore’s form
“I think he’s progressing because you can see Adama has been able to cover more positions in the pitch. It’s a very difficult challenge for someone that has been under routine for so many years, playing on the right side, all the movements and one versus ones were based on that.
“Now he’s been able to change sides, creating an impact, he played as a wing-back, as a striker, so a lot of things Adama has improved on.
“Adama is unique, the moment he and teammates realise how good Adama can be, I hope I’ll be here to see it, because he’s very special. It’s his personality, his character, his heart, he’s a very nice boy and a good human being.”
On having versatile players
“We will try to challenge them every day because we recognise the talent, the possibilities of becoming versatile, and I believe inside our own idea, having many versatile players allows you to not change after game, but try to make the step of changing during the game.
“That will create a big impact on our performances, and we’ll try to achieve that. We have the player, they are committed to it, so working together can be positive.”