Nuno Espirito Santo has described the difficulties of trying to prepare his team for Premier League matches under the strict Covid-19 testing protocols.
The Wolves head coach believes the protocols need to be made clearer as infection rates and confirmed cases of Covid across Wolverhampton and the rest of the country have started to drastically increase.
On Covid testing in the Premier League
“We need better clarification from the government and Premier League regarding the protocols. We do it two times a week. Sometimes it depends on the game, on the schedule of the training session and we try to adapt so we can be tested two times.
“For all the managers, clubs, it’s tough for us because you get text, for example in our game on Friday, we don’t know results and are preparing for Sunday, with the stress of the final result.
“I think the protocols could be better and clearer, so now, if you have 14 players available, you are obliged to play the game.
“Unfortunately, I expect problems will become more difficult in the future, because it’s clear that the pandemic is not solved, cases are increasing day by day, the rate of infection is higher, so it’s tough moments.
“It’s not clear. But for sure we will hear managers and players and clubs complaining, because if we have a problem, you cannot play the players that you want to play.”
On the difficulties of living in the bubble
“We have to adapt and keep the same message since the beginning of the pandemic. Let’s protect each other, let’s take care of each other, let’s respect, because we live inside a bubble, it’s about trusting ourselves that we can be as normal as possible.
“We are in a similar position that we were in five months ago. I think the spirit and feeling of everyone involved is to help try and make things work so we can get through this tough period. But it’s very tough.
“The anxiety is there, every time you test you are concerned, but as a society we are all concerned, our social lives are totally different. It’s not nice at all.”
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On Covid’s impact on youth football
“I’m positive English football in the higher level will be ok, but at the lowest level there will be problems, but the big issue is youth football. We know that under-16s are not working, so there’s a gap of learning and a gap of practising that will reflect later on in the future.
“If you have money, you are OK, but the youth and the Academies and other clubs, they are not operating as they were before, so this gap in the growing and the development of the player will suffer for the future.”
On future transfer business
“It’s a couple of weeks where it’s very hard for us, all the clubs, all the managers. The transfer window is open, so we have to be ready for anything that can happen, ins or outs, it’s all about when it finishes, having a balanced squad, ready to complete.
“But we are happy. Ki and Nelson, Marcal, Fabio and Vitor can give good things to us. We are happy with the players came in, as we are with the players that went out.
“It’s the normal process of football; players go out, players come in, and what we are concerned about is the players that came in. We want to integrate them as fast as possible so they can help the team.”
On a new cycle for his team
“I think we already have our identity. It’s clear and evident and there for everyone to see; how we operate, how we do things, our philosophy as a club, inside of the game, our idea of football.
“But I think this foundation of knowledge that we have already can provide us a good way to make one more step inside the improvement of our game. This is what I believe. But it’s nothing new, it’s just a continuation and improvement of our game based on what we did before as a strong foundation.
“If you stay the same, I believe you will not evolve, you will not go along what you want, but there’s nothing new – we try to find the small details which can change big things.”
On a right-hand side of Semedo and Traore
“Let’s see if they can put their speed inside the dynamic of the team. Football is not about speed, it’s about organisation, then comes individual characteristics of the player.
“He started working with us, the complexities and societies will come later on for sure.”