Nuno Espirito Santo showed his intent before the game by picking a strong side, with the likes of Adama Traore, Ruben Neves and new signing Fabio Silva all featuring. This competition may not have been at the top of Nuno’s priorities but the performance that he saw would not have left him a happy man.
A late strike from Jacob Brown beat John Ruddy at his near post and sent the Potters through into the next round of the competition. It was a very disappointing night for Nuno and his side, something that he will be looking to put right on Monday in the Premier League against Manchester City.
It was clear to see, from the start that Wolves were lacking something throughout the game. They were slow when moving the ball, and never really threatened the Stoke goal.
The best chance of the game for Wolves came through their new singing, 18-year-old Fabio Silva. He found himself unmarked in the box, but put his volley wide of the goal from only 10 yards out. Despite this, he did show some promising signs, with his willingness to take players on whilst also making runs in behind being one of the standouts.
Wolves had 65% possession and only managed to have one shot on target by the end of the night. That's a shocking stat for a side that ended up with £150million worth of talent on the pitch at the end.
Vitinha and Fabio Silva, the two new boys, were probably the only positives for Wolves on the night, as they showed real signs of promise. Vitinha showed off some excellent touches while also previewing his passing display, but he never really had the chance to impact the game too much.
Nuno turned to his bench midway through the second half, in an attempt to bring some urgency to Wolves as the game went on, however this didn’t work. Raul Jimenez came on, along with Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto but these substitutes didn’t work, as Wolves still weren’t moving the ball quick enough to trouble the Stoke back line.
Trouble in the Wolves net
John Ruddy seems to be the talking point of Wolves fans every time he plays, whether that is for his heroics or his mistakes. Many Wolves fans will have very fond memories of Ruddy when he leaves the club, thanks to his outstanding season when Wolves rose to the top of the Championship and back to the promise land of the Premier League.
However, recently he has been poor for Wolves and his mistakes have cost them positive results. Although Wolves didn’t deserve to win the game, they looked defensively solid and looked ready to grind out a draw to send the game to the lottery of a penalty shootout.
Jacob Brown’s late strike went straight through John Ruddy, and although he was wrong footed, he will probably feel that he should have kept it out, as it should have been a pretty routine stop.
Ruddy has been poor for Wolves for a few years now, as he was at fault for Wolves’ exit in the FA Cup last season, cost Wolves against Aston Villa last season and also almost lost Wolves the game against Shrewsbury.
Is it time that Wolves looked to the younger goalkeepers at the club, as they have Andreas Söndergaard who has come through the club's ranks. A promising young goalkeeper still awaiting his chance in the first team, now might be the perfect time. There is also new boy Matija Sarkic, who joined from Aston Villa in the summer as one for the future before being loaned out for the season as a way to get more experience.
These are decisions that Nuno Espirito Santo will have to make in the future, but one thing is for certain, he will be expecting change from his side going forward, and they will have to change as they face Manchester City in the Premier League in only three days time.