Wolves boss Nuno looks for more thrills in the FA Cup

Wolves enjoyed a special ride in the FA Cup a couple of years ago, and Nuno Espirito Santo is determined to have another run in the competition.

Nuno Espirito Santo wants an FA Cup run (AMA)
Nuno Espirito Santo wants an FA Cup run (AMA)

Having got to the semi-finals at Wembley in 2018/19, Nuno has set his sights on going ‘as far as we can’ this time around.

Standing in their way in the third round tonight are Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and coming off the back of a hectic festive schedule, these ties are always open to squad rotation.

Nuno, though, seems intent on picking a strong side to get past the Eagles and creating more positive memories.

He has been quite happy to change things drastically outside of the league in the past, but more so in the Carabao Cup.

And knowing full well the magic this competition can bring – that win over Manchester United in the quarters being played out in front an unforgettable atmosphere at Molineux – the Portuguese wants more of it, although the fans are sorely missed.

“Always with the strongest team that we believe,” said Nuno, on what sort of Wolves XI we will see against Roy Hodgson’s men.

“There can always be judgment but I always go with the strongest and the best way for us to compete. It will be a tough game against Palace, a good team.

“It’s a new competition for us and we have good memories of what we did in the FA Cup. We want to play good, perform well and proceed. We want to go as far as we can in the FA Cup.”

When asked if this also offers a chance to build momentum to take into the Premier League after a difficult last month or so, Nuno said: “It’s one game at a time, but it’s the FA Cup and we know what it means.

“We have been training on penalties because we want to do whatever we can to continue.”

John Ruddy will be between the sticks (AMA)

And on looking to improve things, Nuno said: “I am aware of the challenge since the end of last season. Everything has changed and become more difficult.

“It is more hard to plan. I am aware from a long time ago that we are facing a new cycle and we are trying to do things better and different.

“We expect more from the players and the ones who come we expect more from them, so I am aware of all the situations.

“What we did in the past that brought us success can only be an inspiration for us. It can never be a point of comparison. We want to be a bit better so let’s work harder.

“What you can control is the work you do and the mindset you have and what you want to achieve and how you want to do things.

“You have to be aware of changes that require patience and support, and people to stick together and look the same way. This is how I think.”

One player Nuno has confirmed will start tonight is second-choice goalkeeper John Ruddy.

“John is going to play because he’s been working very hard and very well,” he said.

“Always since we’ve arrived we have done this in the cup competitions and John has been doing well.”

Providing a further update on Wolves’ injured group – Daniel Podence, Fernando Marcal, Willy Boly, Raul Jimenez, Jonny Castro Otto and Leander Dendoncker – Nuno added: “Daniel had a knock in the game against Manchester United. He’s improving but only in the gym.

“Marcal is also in the same situation. We have Boly who’s a little bit more ahead. We hope he can join us soon.

“Then, we have Raul who’s progressing well, Jonny is progressing well, and Leander has joined the training sessions.

“We’re improving. A lot of issues, but knowing they are coming back. Dendoncker has trained, so he’ll join the squad and we’ll decide.”

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