Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has explained his thinking behind his substitutions in the FA Cup semi-final last week – and admitted he never thought the tie would go to extra-time.
Nuno’s changes sparked plenty of debate on social media, with many questioning why he replaced Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota with Ryan Bennett and Ivan Cavaleiro in the 86th and 89th minutes respectively with Wolves 2-1 ahead.
But the Molineux head coach insists he had no regrets over his decisions over those who came off the bench.
Troy Deeney’s equalising penalty forced extra-time and substitute Gerard Deulofeu grabbed his second goal to win it for Watford in extra-time.
The arrival of Adama Traore in the 102nd minute meant the creative heart of the team – Joao Moutinho and Neves – were off the pitch, a minute before Deulofeu struck what proved to be the winner.
Nuno said: “First it was Ruben, then Diogo. It was needed, we believed it, we truly did.”
When asked if he thought the game would go to extra-time, he said: “No, nobody (thought that) – it could happen, or it could not happen.
“You can’t make your decisions on what might happen…no, you have to decide and help the team in the right moments.”
Nuno was asked if he had any regrets about the changes he made. He said: “That’s the maybes. what if, what that, there’s no point in taking about that.”
Nuno is also confident there will not be any hangover for Leander Dendoncker.
The Belgium international conceded the penalty for catching Deeney on the blind side and there were questions asked if he could have got closer to Deulofeu in the build-up to Watford’s first goal.
“It’s the same for everybody. It’s tough – for everyone, not just for one person more than the other. We have to stick together and stand up,” said the Portuguese.
“There’s no need (for the players to get around him) – it’s been like this for 19 months. It’s always a collective issue.”