Supporters retuning to stadiums after more than a year away and a full pre-season of preparation is why Nuno Espirito Santo believes the next Premier League season is going to be one of the best yet.
The Wolves head coach is excited about the prospect of playing in front of fans once again as his side travel to Everton on Wednesday night, before thousands of old gold supporters return to Molineux on Sunday, something Nuno described as ‘the best thing that can happen to the game’.
On the return of supporters
“For everyone, it’s huge. Finally, we’re going to have fans tomorrow, Everton fans, and then we’re going to have our own fans at Molineux. It’s a big moment for everybody – a big, big moment.
“It’s good for the game, it’s good for the competition, it’s good for society, it’s good for everybody. You can see in the FA Cup final for example, the atmosphere is different and tomorrow it’s going to be different.
“For the players, the more important thing is they have fans and the game regains it edge it regains this atmosphere that makes football the best show in the world, and fans are part of it.
“The returning of fans is the best thing that can happen to the game and hopefully next season is going to be better than ever.”
Getting ready for Goodison Park.— Wolves (@Wolves) May 18, 2021
On facing Everton and Carlo Ancelotti
“Carlo is fantastic. I think he’s amazing, one of the best managers and a fantastic person. He’s someone who, when you have the privilege to be with him, it’s always very good. I have big admiration for Carlo. We see all the success that Carlo has achieved during his career and for us younger managers, he’s an inspiration.
“But it’s going to be a new game and we know it’s going to be a tough one – very demanding. We’re going to face a very tough opponent and we have to prepare ourselves very well.
“It’s a tough match, a very tough opponent, a talented squad. At Goodison, it’s always difficult going to Everton, and with fans, it’s more difficult also. Let’s prepare ourselves well and let’s compete better. I’m looking forwards to it.”
On the impressive performances of Rafa Mir in Spain
“He’s been good. He’s done well. Naturally because he has talent and because he’s been in his own country. That makes a big difference. I don’t know if that’s the only difference, but I think that it’s a big difference.
“That’s why I insist that we have to be patient when players change countries, come to a new culture and have to adapt to so many things, especially very young players. There are others who adapt very quickly, and others come and never succeed, and will never be able to.
“When Rafa joined us, there was a difficulty in adapting himself to a new country, a new language. He did ok, but it didn’t work out. Now he’s showing all his quality and talent.
“I’m really pleased that Rafa has shown what he can do because he was my player in Valencia and we already saw there was a goalscorer. I’m really happy for Rafa.”
On making a decision over his future
“He’s still a Wolves player and he’s one of many things we have to work on. Planning has become harder and harder due to the circumstances that we have, but all of the players who have contracts with at Wolves, we are looking at very carefully.
“We have to look at all of them, and it’s still up for us to decide. That’s not to say they will join us or not, that’s what we’re working on now.
“We want to build a bigger puzzle and the more pieces you have, the better the puzzle is going to be.”
On importance of a full pre-season
“We have all the plans ready for pre-season; the date that we start, where we’re going to go, who we’re going to face, there’s only one small detail missing, but everything is planned.
“During pre-season, you are really able to build what you want. It’s going to be very important for all the teams, for all the squads and for all the managers because that’s the moment you can really spend a lot of hours in the training ground, repeating, insisting, introducing, presenting new ideas.
“It’s going to be very important for all the managers, for all the teams and I’m sure that the level of the games will increase even more.
“With the return of fans and all of this together, that’s why I believe next season is going to be better than ever.”