The five key quotes from Nuno Espirito Santo's post-Southampton press conference 

Wolverhampton Wanderers drew 1-1 with Southampton at Molineux in the Premier League on Monday evening.

Substitute Pedro Neto’s goal canceled out Theo Walcott’s opener to grab a late point for Wolves, who were missing captain Conor Coady for the first time since 2017.

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Nuno Espirito Santo spoke to the media after the game to discuss his team’s performance, Coady, and the potential of fans returning to stadiums.

On the improved second half:

Wolves began the game poorly, with Southampton in charge. The Saints brilliantly maintained possession when on the ball and pressed relentlessly off it, leaving the Wanderers aiming for an improved performance in the second half.

Espirito Santo believes his team did improve and was happy with how they approached the game after the break.

He said: “In the first half we wanted to play better, but Southampton are a very good team. They press very well, they played very good. We were better second-half, reacted well to the goal.

We wanted to go for it and created chances. At the same time, we were very aggressive, on the moment that Southampton could counter-attack, we stopped them. I’m happy and very proud of the boys.”

On reacting to going one down:

The hosts did improve in the second half however Southampton took the lead through Walcott on the hour mark.

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Although despite conceding, Wolves continued to play well and responded brilliantly by applying plenty of pressure on the visitor's defence.

“It’s hard without an atmosphere to engage again in the game and the boys did that,” Nuno explained. “It was a strong reaction and we finished the game well with clear chances, so let’s go again.

“We matched them, we finished the game on the front foot and I’m very proud to the reaction of the goal.”

On missing Coady:

Club captain Coady returned from the England squad and was required to self-isolate despite testing negative for Covid-19.

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The centre-back is a key part of Wolves’ tactics and his absence played a part on Monday evening. Espirito Santo’s side have kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League in 2020 with 13, but without Coady against Southampton, they couldn’t improve that record.

Nuno explained his absence: “It was a big blow. Unfortunately, neither Coady nor Saiss were with us today. Players that have been with us since the Championship, played a lot of games. This is how it goes with the situation.

“Since Coady returned from the England squad he’s been self-isolating. He was tested and was negative, he already had the virus, maybe he’s already immune, but he could not be with us. Many things don’t make sense, but we’re inside society, we know how it goes. It’s not a good moment for anybody.”

On playing a back four:

With Coady and Saiss out, Wolves were forced to change their formation to play a back four rather than their more recognised three at the back system.

This change was not one that Espirito Santo wanted to make but he was happy with how his team performed and adapted to the formation.

He said: “Conor [Coady] was out – Saiss also. We decided to go with three midfielders and it was good. I think we should grow, find solutions, we have an identity that is not about the system, it’s about the idea that we have.

“We knew that we have lines of the ball in us. When you take one player from the backline, with the circulation of the ball it’s noticed. But at the same time, we have an extra body in the midfield and upfront, which allowed us to be a little bit more aggressive sometimes.”

On fans potentially returning to Molineux:

On Monday, it was announced that the return of football fans to stadiums was imminent. Depending on the tier rating of the local area, clubs can welcome up to 4,000 people back into their grounds.

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Espirito Santo was happy to find this news out and wants to have fans back at Molineux as soon as possible.

“We all wish it was tomorrow,” he said. “We have enormous desire to have fans back in football because it’s all about them, so let’s try our best to get them in the stadiums.”

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