Wolves v Aston Villa: Adama Traore says he has nothing to prove to visitors
Adama Traore insists he has nothing to prove to his former club Villa.
The wing-wizard failed to make a Premier League start for Villa during his 2015-16 stint after the claret and blues brought him in from Barcelona.
He would go on to make just 11 league substitute appearances and a single start in the League Cup, in which he scored his solitary goal in claret and blue.
The versatile wide-man enjoyed two seasons with Middlesbrough before Nuno forked out £18m to bring him to Molineux.
And the only one he now he feels he has to justify himself to is Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo: “I have to prove it to the manager, Nuno, who has trusted me, and the team and myself.
“I don’t think I have to prove anything to anyone. I’m not thinking about anything outside of our team or what other people think.”
Traore made the move to Villa Park from Spanish giants Barcelona in the summer of 2015 and
He said: “It’s always hard when the team comes down but I knew I was still a young player and I used it to make me a better person.
“When you come from Barcelona it’s totally different, whenever you go to the airport there are like 5,000 people waiting for you. This difference makes you grow.
“There are always expectations when you come from Barcelona.
“Too much expectation depends on the limitations people put on you.
“If you think, ‘Adama maybe has high expectations on him’, it’s because maybe you think I can get where I think I can get. This is the thing. Maybe people think I can get to one level, and I think I can get to another level.
“The only truth is what I know, the work I’m doing, how I focus on the pitch and how I give my life. If I’m the same guy as yesterday, for me it’s one day lost. I work every day trying to be the best I can be.”
That expectation was not helped by then Villa boss Tim Sherwood comparing the forward to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Traore was not fazed by Sherwood’s comments but is trying to forge his own path.
He said: “I think it’s great when they say that. These two players are special in history and I’m here working here each day. They are in the best level – I prefer to make my way.”
Traore goes in to the clash in fine form after Wolves’ 1-0 Europa League win over Slovan Bratislava.
The Spaniard started on the right of the front three on Thursday night with Nuno opting for a 3-4-3 formation.
Wolves started with the same shape for the 1-1 Premier League draw at Arsenal.
But after picking up their seventh league draw of the season last weekend, Traore is eager for three points.
He said: “You’re asking the wrong person (about the reception he will receive from the Villa fans)! I think we’ll see on Sunday. For me it’s my old team, they give me whatever they feel like. I pick up the good things and I don’t have anything against Villa.
“It’s always great to play against your old team. Each game is important and we will fight to the end to win the game.”
Traore will be monitored ahead of the game after a knock in the first half of that Europa League clash.
And Nuno says knocks and niggles are part and parcel of the game.
He said: “I think it is something, let’s see (with Traore).But that is competing, it happens, it was a tough game for us.”
Forward Diogo Jota is back in contention after missing the Slovan game due to suspension.
But young midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White is still nursing a back injury.
Nuno was pleased to see his defensive options boosted ahead of the Villa clash.
Despite Willy Boly’s ankle injury he now has a number of options for his back three with Conor Coady, Max Kilman and midfielder Leander Dendoncker picking up a clean sheet on Thursday.
Experienced defender Ryan Bennett returned from a groin injury to join Coady and Kilman as Dendoncker pushed up into the midfield of a 3-5-2.
And with Romain Saiss over a hamstring niggle Nuno spoke of the need to manage the squad.
He said: “Morgan we still have to take care of him with this small back pain that he has. He was not on the bench on Thursday but Benno has come back, Saiss is better and it is about managing the squad. I hope Morgan can join us.”