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Nuno: Wolves' schedule doesn't make sense

By Rosie Swarbrick | Wolves | Published:

Nuno Espirito Santo slammed Wolves’ ‘crazy’ December schedule ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash with West Ham.

Nuno Espirito Santo the head coach / manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers (AMA)

After clinching a spot in the last 32 of the Europa League, Nuno’s side opened the final month of 2019 with a 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.

But as they embark on their second clash of an eight-game December, which ends with back-to-back games against Liverpool and Manchester City in the space of two days, Nuno was left demanding answers from the powers that be.

He said: “It is crazy – this schedule doesn’t make sense. In our case we are the team who has more competitions already and we are going to play with 45 hours between games, it’s absurd.

“It’s one of the issues every time we have a meeting with the FA, we try to make them understand what it means to the players.

“It’s not human, what we are demanding from them, the amount of games we have, and if we increase that with international players it becomes really tough.

“We expect the FA (and Premier League) to attend to in the future and try to find a solution.”

He added: “I don’t see it (any understanding) we are a team who has had a lot of competition and the gap between games is not being respectful.

“In my position, I would like them to tell me why we have 45 hours between games.

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“If someone can come and say ‘look this is the reason I will try to understand’ but at the moment it doesn’t make sense.

“There are things I have no knowledge about – why the seasons are made, if there is direct intervention from TV, which I know there is – but they are not the ones who go on the pitch and have to run 12km.

“It’s crazy. Decisions are made and I understand them, but they should look more at us and try to consult our opinions on how it can benefit the game itself.

“Let’s see what happens with this schedule we have in December.

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“Maybe one day afterwards we’re capable of talking about it. Let’s hope nothing bad happens, but it’s going to be very difficult, not only for us but all of the teams.”

The West Ham clash will be Wolves’ 28th fixture of the season, but the congestion has not dented their current form.

Wolves welcome the Hammers on the back of a nine-game unbeaten league run – their longest top-flight streak since 1973.

And Manuel Pellegrini’s side will have to handle Wolves’ 15-goal hot-shot Raul Jimenez.

The striker has just won the PFA Premier League player of the month award for netting in all five of Wolves’ league and Europa League fixtures.

But for Nuno the accolade is one for the squad, not just his Mexican striker.

He said: It’s very good. I’m very happy for him. I think it’s an award for the team but he’s doing amazingly well.”

Jimenez scored twice in Wolves 3-0 home win over the Hammers last term with wing-wizard Adama Traore scoring the winner in the reverse fixture at the London Stadium.

And Nuno sees organisation as the key to toppling the London side again.

He said “I think the first one was the beginning of the season, we scored in the last minute and we stayed organised for most parts of the game.

“At home, also, it’s all about the organisation, the way you play and try to make your chances but stick to your task and respect the game, what you have to do, and then play, and try to improve.”

Pellegrini’s side beat Chelsea at the weekend and Nuno is expecting a tough test.

He said: “The quality of West Ham’s squad is there for everybody to see.

“They have very good players and we have to know that and prepare ourselves well.”

Nuno has a decision to make at the back with Romain Saiss returning from suspension.

Max Kilman made his first Premier League start alongside Conor Coady and Leander Dendoncker in the 1-1 draw with Sheffield United due to that one-match ban.

But the Wolves boss would not reveal if Ryan Bennett (groin) was back in contention too. He said: “He is improving.

“We have to decide now.

“Let’s see.”

Young midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White will miss the game but Nuno does not have a time-frame on his back injury.

He said: “He has a problem with his lower back and he’s still struggling with this.

“It’s very painful but he’s in the gym. First we have to take care of his pain, then we will be able to recover his shape.

“I hope he’s back soon.”

Rosie Swarbrick

By Rosie Swarbrick
@rosieswarb

Wolves correspondent for the Express & Star.

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