Nuno assesses striking duo

Nuno Espirito Santo believes his current striking options in Willian Jose and Fabio Silva are displaying positives in their performances but need to improve more.

At St James’ Park on Saturday, Jose linked up play impressively, without registering a shot on goal, while Silva came off the bench and was denied a late winner by Martin Dubravka’s impressive save. Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s trip to the runaway leaders Manchester City, Nuno was feeling positive about his attacking duo, likewise the progress Jonny is continually making.

On Jonny getting more minutes

“The plan was clear, we tried to increase in a progressing way his time on the pitch, but against Newcastle he went all the game and always at a high intensity, so did amazing. He’s doing good, but we still have to be aware that he’s coming back and needs special attention in terms of recovering.

“All the players in this schedule, we are playing tomorrow, we arrived from Newcastle at 2am yesterday, so all the players require special attention in this short period. This quick turnaround, we have to try to decide well.”

On Silva growing

“Many of our younger players have had to be introduced quickly at the same time. Many of them are inside the team, but they did OK. Fabio is progressing, now he’s coming from the bench and having an impact. There’s a small detail missing for him, what we expect is the final touch is clinical.

“Many young players that are inside of our squad have had much more minutes than we expected because the situation required immediately their introduction into the starting 11. Fabio is one of many youngsters that had to play sooner than they were expected.

“But all of them have had their moments, some of them have had good things and given us good things. At the same time, we have to deal with the normal situation of mistakes happening, correcting them, supporting them, and we are in the process with all of our young players.”

On Jose’s performances so far

“There’s a lot of things we have to try and improve. He’s been linking up the game very well, but at the same time, when we go for a crossing situation, he needs to find himself in better positions inside the box and that comes with recognising the lines of the ball, who is crossing, if it’s a winger who changes foot, outside or inside, and we are on that process.

“Instinct you cannot teach, it has to be there, and he has it, because he proved himself with all the goals he scored before. We just have to find it.

“We’ve been pleased. He joined us late, he started immediately inside of the team with a tight schedule, realising that the Premier League is very competitive, spaces are not the same. At the same time, the team started integrating him inside of the team and he recognised his teammates.

“It’s a process that we’re trying to speed up but takes some time. We are pleased with what he’s been giving, hard work, talent, but we expect things to improve regarding spaces, finishing the actions and hopefully that will come.”

On learning as he goes

“There’s no ‘Wolves Way’ and there’s no ‘Nuno Way’, all there is is just football. It’s always football. Always when a new player comes or arrives to a new team, he needs time.

“It’s not the way, it’s about when you want to speed up his process, you try to integrate his characteristics inside of your own idea of the game. But it’s no different from any other situation or any other club or player that joins after. It’s getting him fitness and playing the game.”

On difficulties signing during a pandemic

“In the case of Willian, he came by himself, in a rush. His family is back in Spain. It’s hard. I don’t want to talk much, it’s private, but it’s very tough. All of us are with this doubt and uncertainly about when we are going to be able to reunite again with our families.

“We’ve been trying to deal with that also, but he has to be brave, put aside that, and his contribution for the team has been good, but we expect more.

“The squad is helping him here at Compton and when we go to the hotel. There’s always the language barrier with some of his teammates, but the boys are trying like they always do. This group is amazing, so when anyone comes, they immediately make him feel like he’s home, and that will help Willian inside the pitch also.”