Nuno Espirito Santo insists young players such as Fabio Silva and Rayan Ait-Nouri have his complete backing, with the duo eyeing a fresh opportunity as Wolves face Fulham on Friday evening.
Silva made an impressive impact off the bench last time out against West Ham United, finishing a Pedro Neto pass well for his third goal of the season, while Jonny’s unfortunate injury may pave the way for more action for Ait-Nouri. Although admitting he’d have preferred to drip the youngsters in more gradually across the course of the season, Nuno has complete confidence in the youthful streak of his team.
On Silva getting his goal
“It was good. Clearly, improvement from previous chances that he had, very close chances that he had, but Monday he finished well. It can only bring confidence to him and to us.
“We know that he’s young, the talent is there, and we are positive that many situations will happen and he’s going to approach them and be more clinical with his final touch. He’s such a young player, and a talented player, that we can expect big things for him.”
On Ait-Nouri getting his chance
“The case of Rayan is very similar to many of the younger players that we’ve had, and we have this season. Some of those were rushed into the team pretty early in the season, without too much knowledge of the competition of the Premier League, how difficult it is, all our players have struggled with that.
“Now, he’s been away from the team for some time and had his chance against West Ham – it was not easy, a tough, tough game for him and for the team, but he’s committed to improve. Tomorrow we still have to decide if he’s going to start or not, but more important is he has our confidence and total support.”
On supporting all the young players
“When you come to England and, due to the circumstances, and mainly the high quality we play in the Premier League, it requires a fast adaptation. We’ve not been able to do as well as we wish on that aspect.
“Fabio [Silva], Vitor [Ferreira] , Morgan [Gibbs-White], Owen [Otasowie], Ki [Jana Hoever}, Rayan [Ait-Nouri] have talent and youth. Finding this balance to allow them players to grow, it’s important. We’re very supportive, very aware of the analysis, the moment of the players, momentum of the team, all this is important.”
On the group suffering injuries together
“One of the big things, important foundations that we have, is the relationship between us. We work together as a unit, we face the problems as a unit. We try to figure out and find the solutions for our mistakes as a unit, and of course when something bad happens to one of us, we all suffer and almost feel like the player himself.
“At the same time, if we have the strong spirit as a team, it’s our responsibility to give good answers as a team. I felt this during the season, every time we’ve had a setback, we’ve felt it and we reacted. This is what we are looking for with the last situation of Jonny’s. It’s bad luck, we know that, but we must react, we must keep going.”
On keeping motivated
“Beside it being our own obligation, the commitment that we have as professionals, facing new challenges, trying better things, trying different things inside of our preparation in terms of training sessions, in terms of what we want for games.
“That can be a challenge that can raise our spirits – let’s try to be better, I think that’s motivation enough to play each and every game. Tomorrow we have a new challenge, we cannot allow ourselves to concede the same way we conceded.
“As long as we present a solution to the players, that must be reason enough to perform well and I have no doubts regarding the attitude of our squad, no kind of doubts, we want to play, we want to improve, we want to compete. This is the best way, game by game, training session after training session, challenge ourselves individually on how good we can be.”
On gaining consistency
“By supporting the players, give them good info, prepare them well, train very hard, focus, try to get as many details as we can to raise our standards. This season, we’ve not been able to do it as many times as before, there have been many ups and downs, and we must find it. I think we still have time to find this way to perform. It’s game by game. It’s a good thing to work on and tomorrow, I’m positive we’re going to perform better.”