Nuno | On Super League 'mistake', missing Neves and facing Burnley

Nuno Espirito Santo believes there is a level of trust which needs to be rebuilt between Premier League clubs and the ‘big six’ after controversial Super League plans were announced earlier this week.

The English top-flight clubs who were set to be involved withdrew from the competition after less than 48 hours following an enormously negative response from fellow clubs and supporters across the country, and Nuno, who hopes a similar response can be given to incidents of racism, wants teams to work together for the good of the game rather than creating their own divide.

On the reaction to the short-lived Super League plans

“I will start by the trust. I think we have to rebuild it, because we need it. We need to be together; all the clubs, all the ownerships have to work among them.

“Splitting or making an eventual separation of these clubs will be another mistake, like it was for the idea of the Super League because it is a mistake.

“It was a mistake, it was a bad idea, something that will take away the fun of football, the fun of the game, the dream, the right to earn things – to dream, that you can grow and achieve, and become stronger by your own merits.”

On wanting the same response to racism

“It’s clear there was a massive response from everybody regarding the issue of the Super League.

“I don’t think there’s been many things that we speak so many times and so different opinions, but the response of the general public was amazing, and of course we want this response from all the problems that affect us, and racism is a big one.

“But honestly, I think that everybody is trying their best to eradicate racism. It will take time, but we have to be resilient and persist so we can stop it. But let’s expect more and strong response from the governing bodies on racism also.”

On finishing the season strong

“It’s important to play good, to perform, and improve our game against Burnley. This is what we focus on.

“Until the end of the season we have a lot of matches to play and a lot of time when we can take advantage of the situation to try and improve and build a foundation. First, it’s Burnley, let’s totally focus on how we want to approach the game.

They are a good squad, a good team that creates problems not only to us, but all the teams because their approach of the game is intense, they play good football, they have a good manager and good players.

“They’re real attacks on their strikers, really compact on their defence, a very tough team, a very tough team and a very good team.”

On searching for consistency

“We’ve had a lot of challenges. A lot of challenges. One of those is to be consistent throughout the competition – that is one of the most difficult things to achieve because you always have to solve problems with new solutions we’ve been facing.

“But let’s try to be consistent, mainly in our game. The way the players have committed themselves in the previous games have been amazing, so let’s commit to it.”

On Neves’ Covid-19 isolation

“Unfortunately, he’s still in isolation, he’s been tested, and he’s not allowed yet to join the group. We try to provide training sessions in their own homes. Some of them have space and the weather is also helping, but it’s not the same.

“We have been able, as a group, to really follow the protocols and keep ourselves safe. But these situations have happened outside of the building, so that, you cannot control.

“If a player goes to the national team and he’s allowed to travel to all different countries, countries that are on the red list and he comes back and the results come of the day of the game and he has to go to isolation, you cannot control that.

“That’s why I truly believe we have to work together alongside the Premier League, all of us, because it’s still ongoing and everybody is anxious to solve the problem, but this will unfortunately stick with us for a long time.”