While anxious until his squad’s health is confirmed following the latest international break, Nuno Espirito Santo is looking forward to an extended period with his players.
The head coach has seen his group return to Compton sporadically during the latter stages of the week following international duty and is still waiting on test results before concrete plans for Monday’s Southampton challenge can be made. However, international football has now been parked until the spring, giving Nuno and his players four months to focus on the Premier League, starting with the visit of the Saints to Molineux.
On the group’s fitness
“We have some issues to assess. Today [Friday] was the first day that all the players returned to the UK. Tomorrow [Saturday] is the first chance we have to be all together as a squad. We have issues, so let’s assess them.”
On the weekend to prepare
“We have more time than other teams. After the international break, it’s always a delicate moment when we return and it’s good to have more days, but at the same time, we realise it’s not going to be for all the teams.
“So, that tells us there’s a big problem in the scheduling of fixtures, the time of the games, all these things are being discussed to be improved.”
On players returning from internationals
“We had a lot of players involved in national teams, some in different continents. It’s always an issue when we are facing a pandemic situation and the infection rates are increasing, and players go to different environments.
“They return and have to be tested, and we have to wait for the results, so it’s a worrying moment for everybody. It’s public that we have the situation of [Conor] Coady, so let’s hope and see.”
On a period without internationals
“The fixtures, the calendar is tough for everybody. The beginning of the season, so many international breaks which take the players away from the teams. Hopefully when we enter this next period, we have more time on the training ground, more time together, and that can be good for us.
“It will give you more time, but we always work with the detail in our minds, knowing that every aspect is important. This is a question of trying to make your time useful, it’s what we try.
On the Saints challenge
“They are a very good team, good players, good manager. They play with good intensity.
“We want to improve all the aspects of the game, knowing that it’s a big challenge in front of us. We always try to raise our standards. We want to embrace this challenge as a chance to play better.”