Jubilant Nuno Espirito Santo praised his ‘amazing’ Wolves team after they came back to beat Manchester United.
Wolves bounced back from defeat at Burnley and an early Scott McTominay goal for 10-man United to win 2-1 thanks to Diogo Jota’s eighth goal of the season and a Chris Smalling own goal.
Nuno’s side maintained seventh spot to go a point clear of their FA Cup semi-final opponents at Wembley, Watford, who relegated Fulham by beating them 4-1.
Victory meant Wolves have now taken 13 points from 10 games against the top six this season, and also knocked Liverpool and United out of the FA Cup.
It was the second time Wolves had beaten United in 17 days, the first time they had achieved two wins in a season against them since 1979-80.
“To bounce back is important, it requires an extra effort from the boys and they gave us it and I’m really pleased,” said Nuno. “What the boys did was amazing – it’s not easy to win two times against such a good team.
“The way the team reacted to conceding the goal (was pleasing), we know to concede a goal there’s a mistake and if you do it again then it’s game over – you cannot come back – so we had to stay in the game.
“Staying compact and organised is important, but the way the team went forward was amazing.
“Of course, we must react (after conceding). The moment we concede a goal, we must react immediately.
“We were playing against a fantastic team and if you allow them to have situations, then we were in trouble. But I think from there on we controlled the game very well.”
Nuno acknowledged Wolves started poorly but was delighted how his side responded.
“It was a very good performance. In the first half they started better than us, they started controlling the game and they scored,” he added.
“We took a little time to react, but the way we reacted was very good – how the boys organised themselves, the way they went for the game again and how they gave it a real go.
“In the second half I think, again, we were compact, not allowing situations for Manchester and we stayed in the game.
“We truly believe that as long as we prepare well for the competition, we can fight against any team.”
United had captain Ashley Young sent off for a second bookable offence in the 57th minute, after which Wolves seized more control.
“Of course, after the red card, our task became easier, but not less dangerous,” said Nuno. “Fortunately we got the second goal and we managed to keep possession of the ball, did well and controlled the game, and it’s one of the aspects we want to improve on.”
All of Jota’s goals have come since December 5 – during which time he and Raul Jimenez have scored 20 in 23 games in all competitions.
Nuno believes the more time they spend together, the better they get.
“It’s very good. It’s what I call society – the two players, the more time they spend together, every training session and in the competition, things come out,” he said.
“Mutual knowledge is important but knowing each other’s tasks and moments to go is important and I’m pleased for them.”