Wolverhampton Wanderers host Midlands rivals Aston Villa this weekend as they look to bounce back from arguably their worst ever performance under boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
Wolves started well at Anfield but it became clear that they were very outnumbered at the back and paid the price for the new system that some of the players may not be used to.
Nuno spoke to the media on Friday and discussed the importance of Saturday’s showdown against Villa and the return of supporters to the stands.
What Nuno expects from Aston Villa
Aston Villa have started this season very well, and in an unexpected way by scoring a multitude of goals, most notably against Liverpool where they scored 7.
“What I make of Aston Villa is they’re a very good team with a very good manager. They’re full of talented players, it’s a good squad, and they’ve been playing good football. This is our focus, not how the team is, we know we’re going to face a tough opponent.
“It’s a game that will require consistency through the actions, be a unit, compact and take advantage when we have the ball, with the talented players we have – having good possession, unbalancing Villa. It’s an enthusiastic game, a derby, so they’re always special.”
Derby element of the game
Despite not being the midlands derby that the majority of Wolves fans are looking to the most, it is still a game that will give bragging rights to either set of fans.
“We are fully aware of what it means to face Aston Villa. Almost everybody has experienced it home and away, it’s always a big match and it means a lot to our fans. Unfortunately, they will not be at Molineux to give us a push but will for sure be supporting at home and wishing for the best. We have to compete using all our strengths.
“It’s our job to try to create something that is impossible to do, the presence of fans to engage the players to their actions during the game. With fans, it’s totally different, the energy they give you, the push, it’s an element to overcome. This is our job, to try and make the players ready for the game.”
Supporters returning to grounds
Supporters around the country have been able to return to football stadiums, but only if their location is in tier 2 or 1 of the governments tier system.
It is clear that Wolves have missed their home support this year, as the midlands side usually finish the game so strongly due to the support, however they haven’t done that this year.
“This is what we have to accept and not be against something we want – we want fans back as soon as possible to all the stadiums in the Premier League, all over the country, and we have to accept the conditions, the rules the government have decided on regarding tiers, not only in football.
“40 miles away you can have dinner together, but here we cannot, so these are the things that don’t make sense, but it’s up to us to accept it, knowing on the 16th there’s going to be a review. Hopefully fans will be back at Molineux again. Me, as a person of football, I want fans back in. If it happens at Anfield, I’m always supportive of the situation.”
Finding a way without Raul
Last time out was Wolves’ first full game without Raul Jimenez up top after picking up a horrible injury against Arsenal and it just proved how important he is to the side.
“We always have a task as a team – find a way to score. It’s up to us now to find that solution. We’ve been working and I think even during the game against Arsenal, when the episode happened with Raul, we were able to still compete well. This is what we want to do, as a team complete well and find solutions.”
Moving on from the last game
Wolves didn’t look themselves at all last time out against Liverpool, which has left fans disappointed and asking questions. Wolves will look to bounce back against local rivals Aston Villa this weekend.
While speaking about the game against Liverpool, Nuno Espirito Santo said:
“It’s always a reference, but the process is, first we see the mistakes we made and try to correct them on the training ground and then approach the game in a separate way. It’s not about the last game, it’s about the new one. This is what we’ve been doing. First, try to analyse the mistake, correct it, work it, and then prepare the game of tomorrow.”