In-form Neto could be key for Wolves

Nuno Espirito Santo has hailed grounded Wolves winger Pedro Neto as he looks to shine against in-form West Ham.

Neto was among the big winners of those who went away on international duty, claiming two assists for Portugal and strengthening his chances of making their squad for this summer’s Euros.

Nuno hopes he can produce something similar against the Hammers tonight, too, while stressing the 20-year-old knows he still has a lot of room for improvement.

“Pedro is in an important moment of his growing process as a player because he plays many games with us,” said Nuno.

“He is involved in the national team with Portugal who is now in the top ranking of national teams of the world. That tells you how good you have to be, just to join that squad.

“Pedro is deserving his chances and I think he’s taking them.

“He is improving and cannot change as a person. That would be a mistake.

“But I think he has his feet on the ground and knows that he still has a long way to go.”

Neto, currently Wolves’ joint top scorer with five, will hope to add to his tally against David Moyes’ high-flying charges.

Nuno, though, knows they are in for a very tough test – especially considering the reverse fixture saw West Ham run out comfortable 4-0 winners.

“They’ve been able to compete, and compete much better,” he said on the Hammers’ rise to fifth in the Premier League table.

“They have a very good squad and have introduced players to give them more physicality, along with fantastic work from David Moyes.

“Inside the Premier League, all managers are putting their ideas across and West Ham are clearly playing good.

“They are solid, so we expect a very tough match.

“We know we are going to face a very tough opponent, a very good team.

“They were much better than us (at the London Stadium), we were not so strong defensively and we didn’t play a very good game.

“But that was a long time ago.

“The reference approaching this game is not that because both teams are different. This is a new challenge so we don’t look back.”

Nuno, instead, is focusing on Wolves’ performance just before the international break – the 1-0 loss to Liverpool which he took a lot of positives from. “We played good, did very well,” added Nuno.

“We got nothing from the game, but it was a very good game. Let’s try again. This is the reference.”

On the team news front, Nuno hopes to have Joao Moutinho available after picking up a knock with Portugal and not being able to train at the back end of last week.

Daniel Podence could also play a part after several weeks out with an adductor issue.

The Wolves chief also has a decision to make up front – whether to start with the goalless Willian Jose or teenager Fabio Silva.

Club-record signing Silva said on competing with Jose: “I try to learn as much as I can from Willian as I do from Raul (Jimenez).

“They have twice as much experience as I do.

“And I always try to learn. I ask them things they can help me with. That’s what I try to focus on.

“It is normal to want to play, but that decision is up to the coach.

“We players have to do our job and not put our will ahead of the coach’s decisions.

“And we should respect that.

“I limit myself to doing my job, as I have done so far.

“And learning, both with the coach and with the two of them, who have taught me a lot.”

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