Nuno: Kilman an example to young players

Wolves will be without Morgan Gibbs-White and Ryan Bennett for the visit to Arsenal this weekend after head coach Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed the pair are still recovering from injury.

After withdrawing from the England under-21 side due to a back problem, Gibbs-White briefly returned to the team for the Europa League clash in Bratislava before missing the last two matchday squads.

Bennett captained the side against Aston Villa in midweek after recovering from a groin injury which saw him miss the previous two matches, but Nuno confirmed the defender will not be present on Saturday.

With Willy Boly also out of contention for the match at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon, the head coach will have to use the various options available to him, which could give a run out to youngsters Jesus Vallejo or Maximilian Kilman, who Nuno has praised for the progression he has made since being promoted from the Academy last season.

On the rise of Maximilian Kilman

“He did good; we cannot forget the trajectory of Max throughout his youth. I believe it was last season when he was fully integrated into the first-team squad and he’s doing well.

“He’s doing well because it requires a lot of effort from him since we made this decision. We’ve totally changed his habits, his routines, and the response he’s having is fantastic now, but I still firmly believe that he can grow and can become better. I truly believe that.

“[His futsal background] has helped him in some things, while in others it hasn’t. That’s why it’s a long process with Max, but it’s incredible how he’s growing and how he’s giving everything that he has.

“I cannot tell you all of the things, but how much he’s changed, even his physique and how he holds himself is incredible. It’s good. He’s truly an example of how you can arrive late, but you can achieve it.”

On working with Jesus Vallejo

“He’s trying; trying to improve, but it’s not easy to get inside the routines. We give always time and space to the player, to adapt, to get involved, to understand the idea that we have. But he’s doing well, knowing the aspect that he has to improve. He has to change some things and it’s a different football. It’s totally different football – you can see it.

“I never abandon a player. We keep on trying to find the best way to get the best out of him – all the players in our squad; all the young players – this is our philosophy, analyse until the small details you can change will make him better.

“Of course, I’m confident in that, but it’s not just him, all the players that came through this time, some of those immediately have good responses, some of those need time, but we still stick on them, we stick on giving them chances and improving on the training ground.

“Never, never give up trying to get the best out of them.”

On injuries to Gibbs-White and Bennett

“Morgan is dealing with a lower back pain, so let’s see how he recovers from that. He’s trained today with Joao Lapa, he did ok, so he’s not totally pain free but let’s see how he is tomorrow. But he’s dealing with that pain.

“Ryan’s not ok, he had a problem last week, it’s a groin injury. He felt it in the game against Southampton, he recovered, he played in the game against Villa and we appreciate the effort that he made for the team, he did well, but he’s not ok for tomorrow.

“We will have to see how he recovers. He needs a couple of days and now the medical department are trying to recover him as soon as possible.”

On missing players through injury

“We miss all the players that are not with us. It doesn’t have to do with one player, with any player missing it’s one solution less that we have for the game and to compete.

“But we have to find another, other ones, and we have. Within the squad we have solutions to make a strong 11, compete tomorrow and this is what it is all about. Game by game, knowing you have to compete. I’m confident because I trust all the players in the squad.

“We’ve played the last two games [without Boly]. Coady played at Newcastle with Matt and Leander and Saiss, we played at Villa with a different back three, so this is what it’s about.

“We cannot believe that all the games we will have the same players. This is why we have a squad. We have to take the players that we have and take the back-ups from the under-23’s like we did at Villa. We will try to find a solution and compete – we always try to compete.”

On making changes for the Carabao Cup

“The players [who didn’t feature] didn’t rest on Wednesday, they work very hard. There’s no resting – let’s not mix the things, it’s not about that.

“The competition that we played Wednesday, unfortunately we are away from the Carabao Cup, but since we arrived three seasons ago it’s always the same approach. We try to dedicate that space of competition to the young players, for the youth players, and the for the player that have had less minutes in the competitions.

“We don’t have to mix, it’s not about that, we decided that was the team for the game.”


On January transfer window

“We go game-by-game, but we have to be aware of the situation. We are in permanent dialogue, we meet, we discuss, and we try to find [solutions].

“When the moment comes, it’s the first of January, isn’t it? So, we still have a long time.”