Shropshire Star

Wolves in Europe – Nuno: We're ready for anything

While the need for new signings remains pressing, Wolves’ shortage of recognised senior pros has opened up the door for a batch of the club’s promising youngsters.


Dion Sanderson and Taylor Perry, from Wednesfield and Kingswinford respectively, will be in the squad for tonight’s Europa League clash – a potentially career-changing evening for the pair.

And far from Wolves having a small squad, Nuno Espirito Santo says it’s a ‘very big squad’, with the hope being that one of the next generation can progress into the first-team and be fully immersed in Nuno’s methods.

“We are building young players that we want to be in a very high standard of quality so it’s not easy,” Nuno said.

“We have identified players that can fill both gaps (youth team and first-team) and hopefully for all the boys who are working with us, one of them in two or three years’ time will be inside the first team squad. That will be a success for us.

“It’s not easy because you realise the standard is really high so we cannot create this kind of pressure on the boys, saying that ‘okay, you didn’t achieve to be in the first-team squad’ but that doesn’t mean you don’t have quality and talent.”

Nuno took just 12 senior outfield players to China. But a tight first-team group is his preference, new signings or not.

“We have a model of operating, an idea of working, it’s not because you are inside more competition that you are going to change the recipe,” he added. “Imagine that something happens and you don’t qualify (for the group stages).

“It doesn’t make sense to have players just because something might happen. That’s why we create this model – the first-team, the back-ups and the developing group that can hopefully step up, so it’s three parts. So it’s not a small squad, it’s a very big squad.

“The (benched players) don’t feel (they have a chance), they know. They are a part of it because they are involved in every game. Last season we started with 18 and we changed with 16 – this 16 were always inside of the game, it’s not only players who are playing.

“You are on the bench but you are playing. If you take everybody to the hotel and have the meeting before the game, these things are preparing you so even if you’re not inside the game you know the plan of the team, the idea. There is no waste of time, every minute is useful.”

European football means extra fixtures but Nuno says the amount of games played won’t be dissimilar to their Championship campaign of 2017/18.

“We are ready to face any situation,” he said. “But it depends on us to really make it real because the qualification is not done yet. We are still talking about the group stages so we look forward to it. We know there is expectation, anything can happen.

“But in terms of the competition, it doesn’t change because you cannot say the Europa League is easier or more difficult than the Premier League.”

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