'The problems are still there' for Wolves despite emphatic victory last time out
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Nuno Espirito Santo the head coach / manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Sam Bagnall - AMA/Getty Images)

Nuno Espirito Santo pragmatically admitted ‘the problems are still there’ as the Wolverhampton Wanderers boss looks to build on an exhilarating victory against Arsenal.

Despite previously overwhelming The Gunners to triumph in the Premier League for the first time in nine attempts, Espirito Santo will be aware of the two dismissals to the opposition and the heavy influence they had over the game’s outcome. 

Wolves will next host Leicester City in the division, and further improvements will inevitably be needed in the build-up to a fixture that could see a rise to 11th in the table. 

Espirito Santo’s side struggled to gain momentum at the beginning of the tie against Arsenal, with the calamitous misfortunes of the opposition ultimately having a decisive effect.

The Wolves manager briefly gave his thoughts on the matter, “We still have some issues to attend. We still have one more training session tomorrow.

“We are on our own journey. Now the team needs the best of each other in every moment and every match.”

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  • An imperative victory but the issues remain

Wolves are presented with a chance to vanquish a torrid run of form and earn consecutive home victories in the space of five days, in doing so strengthening the sides resolve and setting them in good stead for the extensive period ahead.

Espirito Santo discussed the recent ecstasy of completing a league double over The Gunners and the importance of remaining grounded, proceeding with cautious optimism. 

"The game showed us at the beginning we have to compete better. The mood and confidence is better but the problems are still there. 

“We have to realise what we have, what’s happening, the options we have, all these things are what we have to decide now. It’s totally different from our normal things but we are in the process of changing.”

When David Luiz was adjudged to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity on the brink of half-time, Wolves were presented with a penalty and the advantage of an additional player to sway their fortunes. 

This prompted a change in team-talk for Espirito Santo as he searched for an answer to the side’s troubles.

“Your main job is to try find solutions for what’s happening in the game. It was a strange game because of the circumstance of the red card.

“We had more or less an idea of a team talk and then it changes. For sure, Arsenal would have had something on their mind, and it changes.”

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the matches, the Wolves boss acknowledged the exuberance of the occasion, including Joao Moutinho’s stunning effort that cemented the win.

“It was a fantastic goal, a beautiful goal. We are delighted.”

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  • Acclaim for a distinguished opponent 

The Molineux awaits The Foxes zeal and tenacity on Sunday, and with a chance to win sequential league fixtures for the first time since October a positive performance will be vital for a recovery of a disconcerted season. 

After the elation of Wolves’ first win of 2021, Espirito Santo displayed his admiration for Leicester and the commendable progress made since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers.

The 47-year-old said, “They have a talented squad, very good manager and playing very good consistently through time. I have a true admiration of Brendan; it’ll be a true pleasure to see him.

“Leicester, fantastic squad and manager. The way they play, big team. Very good things. But at the same time, look at what’s happening and its totally unpredictable this season. On a weekly basis you can’t predict what’s to happen.”

Understanding the calibre of opposition awaiting, the Portuguese manager shed some light on the approach for the match. 

We have to compete. We have to find the best team to compete against a top opponent. We will approach it the same way. Let’s play the game.”

Staying true to the club’s philosophy, as well his own innovative tactical reckoning would appear crucial for Espirito Santo as he devises a blueprint for success against Leicester. 

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  • Nuno’s crucial components 

Moutinho’s speculative strike against Arsenal understandably earned widespread praise and attention for the dynamic Portuguese playmaker, orchestrating a match of revitalised energy. 

But the efforts of Ruben Neves and the newly acquired Willian Jose were equally instrumental and will serve Espirito Santo well in the weeks to come. 

On Jose’s impact, he said, “He already had an immediate impact on the team. Willian is a really talented player.”