Nuno Espirito Santo couldn’t hide his joy for Willian Jose after the Brazilian fired Wolves to victory over Sheffield United at Molineux on Saturday evening.
The striker had failed to find the back in the net in his opening 11 Premier League matches, and suffered frustration at the hands of VAR last week, but bounced back to notch the only goal against the Blades. His close-range finish was reward for an improvement across the board in the Wolves camp after the break, and given the shift he puts in for the group each week, the head coach was delighted for Jose to have his moment in the headlines.
On Jose getting his goal
“Very good. He works very hard for the team, he links the game, he drops his lines, and the goal was missing. He had achieved in the previous game, but it was not allowed, but today it was, and I think he can grow from there. The obligation of scoring is not only the strikers, I think we have to produce more, we have to find better lines, to give the advantage for the strikers.
“He joined us very fast and immediately it was about getting him to know the idea and I’m very glad he found his goal today and he can grow and keep helping us.”
On improving after the break
“It was not a very good game. I think we were solid, compact, we had chances on the counter attack. The first-half the two teams were very matched, but I think we started well the second-half. We achieved the goal, then we dropped too much, we allowed Sheffield United to have control of the game, and on our counter attacks we must do much better.
“There’s some questions in football that you don’t explain, even if the idea and intention is different. There’s always a sense of protection, to keep what you have. Definitely that’s not the best way to do it and another thing that we have to improve moving forward.”
Three points ✅ pic.twitter.com/WoZWufVjJO— Wolves (@Wolves) April 17, 2021
On a need to create more chances
“Definitely yes. It was not the best first-half. It’s been like that, but we’ve been able to react for the second-half. I think we did much better, the aggressivity was there, we fought more of the ball, we increased the tempo on our circulation, so we improved.
“We have to realise that we always play tough opponents, so some periods of the game they are stronger than us, and we can’t play the way we want, but it’s about reacting and adjusting, and getting on the front foot like we did in the second-half.”
On returning to a back three
“It’s a decision that we made based on the squad, based on the complicities of the players. Small details that determine many options. Many decisions that we have to take. It’s not about the system, it’s more about the idea, the approach for the game that we have to build on. Having two systems can be very good for us.
“We were always balanced. Sheffield United are a very tough team to play, they involve many players in attack on the wide areas, but we were able to control that. It was due to tasks and to character to stick to those tasks and play the game, so on that aspect I’m very pleased.”
On the final run-in
“It’s always the same, we achieved a good result today, not the best performance, so let’s focus on the performance because next weekend we have a very tough one here at Molineux.
“We will try to improve until the end of the season because finishing well can give us a good foundation for what’s coming in our future. A lot of aspects inside our game, and the young players that we have to improve, because we’re going to need them.”
On seeing Sheffield United drop
“Huge admiration. We started together in the Championship, they were always a very good opponent. They achieved the promotion next season, Chris Wilder, their first season of Sheffield United was amazing, the same group of players. I have a big admiration for the result. The character for this group of players is immense so I’m very sad, but this is football and for sure they’ll react and bounce back.
“I still remember the first time we faced them and we lost there. Very good team. Chris Wilder is no longer there, but he had a big part in getting them promoted and now it’s Paul [Heckingbottom] and I have admiration. I wish them all the best.”