Nuno Espirito Santo was pleased with the impact his young players had in their final game of 2020 and knows he can rely on them as Wolves enter a new year.
The team travel to the south east on Saturday as Wolves entertain Brighton & Hove Albion in their first Premier League tie of 2021, and having handed two players their first league starts as well as utilising five players under the age of 20 on Tuesday night, the head coach is expecting his young stars to learn and develop as the season progresses.
On young players learning from last game
“They did well. The situation is that we can decide the right moments for players to play and the answer was good.
“It was a game where they showed, and everybody showed, that in a tough game they did really well. But the game teaches that you have to be focused until the last moment.
“I already trusted them before the game. We trust them because they work hard and we know that they are young, there will be mistakes and it’s up to us to correct their mistakes so they can become better. Our philosophy is simple.
“It’s a tough lesson to take but it’s a good learning moment, because when things don’t go well, you must react and learn fast. We try to improve them, but football is made of good moments and bad moments, and it’s about how they react to it.
“But I’m happy because we can rely on them. Our squad is small because we work like this, its young because we believe in them and we have a chance to put them to play when we think that is the right time to do it.”
On having three days between matches
“It will make a difference, I hope, but the fitness of the players was very good when we only had 48 hours between games.”
On the difficulty of planning during a pandemic
“All the managers and everybody has accepted that this situation is unprecedented and has never happened before, so we are reacting to situations on a day-by-day basis, that you cannot plan or predict.
“Every time there is a test you are worried. Every time you hear about the cases rising you are worried. You are worried about the players, you worry about the schedule, you start worrying about your future.
“But we are not away from society. These feelings go all over society – everybody is worried.”
On the transfer window opening
“We have to sit down, plan and I think it’s a good chance to rebalance our squad, so we’ll see. We are ready to make decisions.”
On his assessment of 2020
“I usually don’t make assessments on these kinds of situations. But it’s a new season for everybody, with challenges and we are reacting as things go by.
“It’s a new cycle for us, we are trying new things, trying new solutions, and it’s a day-by-day process, and not the moment to do a proper assessment because in a couple of days’ time, we play again.
“We’re in the middle of something that is so unpredictable and changes week after week and the perception is totally different, so we work on this.”