Nuno Espirito Santo believes Wolves have recruited wisely as they prepare to take on bigger-spending Fulham.
Last May Wolves and Fulham were promoted from the Championship yet nine months on, the Molineux men are seventh in the Premier League while Fulham have been relegated.
Wolves spent around £70m in the summer while the Cottagers splashed out £100m, proof that money is no guarantee of success. The West London club are already resigned to Championship football and on their third manager of the season.
“Let’s not compare – it’s nothing to do with money,” said Nuno. “I never saw a £20 note running on the pitch. It doesn’t have to do with money. It’s about how the players commit themselves.
“One of the references for you to recruit a player is the quality they show, but after that you have to fit in your own shape and your own idea. The more important aspect is what you had before – the squad, the spirit you have, the ethic of work. “That means that someone who comes in finds the routine and philosophy and just has to go along with it. This is the best way.
“It is about the way we work and the way the players commit themselves. Since day one everyone here has competed for the growing process of the team and I still believe we can improve.
“We have a small squad but everybody has contributed a lot. The idea is always to improve the player.”
Nuno is grateful to Fosun for their belief and trust in him to make the right decisions on recruitment. But the Portuguese stressed he is just a cog in the wheel, even if he is at the wheel!
“It’s not only me. The trust has to always be present and it’s always here with us, since the beginning,” he said. “The ownership has been supportive to the team.
“I truly believe we should always look at that because the team is the engine of the club, and then it’s about making the right choices. It’s not only me who decides – it’s a lot of people who have opinions and I trust them also. It’s a two-way system.”
Nuno added: “It is an idea, we work this way and it is our model of our squad and training. We made our decisions. Other teams can do what they decide is better for them.”
Fulham came up and struggled but Nuno believes it is difficult for any team to establish themselves in the Premier League because of the quality of all the teams in what has become a world league.
“The Premier League is very tough – not only for newly-promoted teams but for everybody,” he said. “It’s a very tough competition because the best players and the best managers are here so it’s very tough to always be able to fight against all these difficult things.”
There is speculation that Wolves will spend big this summer but Nuno stressed investment is not a topic for discussion right now.
“The moment will come to make decisions but today is not the moment,” he insisted. “We don’t want to speak or think about it. We still have two games to go, first of all Fulham. Let’s focus on the game. All these things we will have time to think about them.”
Wolves are guaranteed seventh spot if they pick up another four points but Nuno insists the message remains the same.
“I never say anything different to my players,” he said. “The most important game in your life is the next one. Nothing has changed or will ever change on that.”