Nuno Espirito Santo insists he will not ‘abandon’ Helder Costa as he pledged to help him return to form like he has with Adama Traore.
Traore, 23, made a surprise return for only his seventh Premier League start in the recent 2-0 win against Cardiff, replacing Matt Doherty at right wing back as Nuno sprang five changes following the 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield.
Against the Bluebirds the £18m club record signing had arguably his best game for Wolves to date.
Now Nuno has revealed how he is hoping a similar approach can work with the out-of-sorts Costa.
The 25-year-old started the season in impressive form after ‘bulking up’ in the summer, but has struggled for form and failed to start the last eight Premier League games.
“Helder Costa started the season very well and made I don’t know how many starting XIs in a row (13 out of the first 14 Premier League games) and he was one of the most important players at that moment,” said Nuno.
“Now we realise he’s not in his best moments, but what should you do? The talent is there, the quality is there, he wants to do it, so let’s work together and put it back together.
“I will not ever abandon a player, ever. We realise a player cannot ever be left by himself. It’s our responsibility, as managers and coaches, to work together to improve them.
“All of the players in the squad have the quality. We have to realise the momentum of the players are not linear – they have ups and downs, and when they have these downs, that’s when us as coaches are so important for them to really help them.
“We stick by them, work alongside them, stay with them and realise that these are players who aren’t happy at not playing, but before there were other ones and we were able to lift them up and improve their performance.”
Traore is one of several players who have responded positively to being recalled or introduced to the side after being forced to wait for their chance, just like Leander Dendoncker and Morgan Gibbs-White.
Nuno says it is a case of keeping faith with a player behind the scenes, even if he is not in the starting line-up.
“Adama came after we started the season and he’s been helping the team a lot, sometimes not so good as we wish,” said the head coach.
“But the most important thing is he’s been improving a lot himself, to try to improve.
“We have to stick by the player, help him, try to push him in the training sessions, not only Adama but all of the players who haven’t had so many minutes.
“We’ve been trying to do it with Adama, Ruben Vinagre, Morgan, Romain Saiss and Ivan Cavaleiro – all of these players.
“If they don’t have so many minutes (on the pitch) you have to help them and stick by them every single day.
“It’s important to stay alongside them and to help them because they have shown before all the quality and talent they have.”
Nuno admits his inclusive approach is all the more important because he only has 18 senior players to select from, including two goalkeepers.
“We want them for the future because we have such a small squad. So all the players are so important,” he added.
“We have 16 players so everybody is important and us as managers and coaching staff, we really work hard to improve the players that at the moment have not had many minutes.
“We stay with them, help them, give them solutions, train them and prepare them because what we want is that top performance and that top talent inside the team.”