Nuno Espirito Santo has championed the chemistry between Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota as the Wolves strike duo look to strike fear all over Europe.
Despite only having a two-week break after a 336-day season last term, Jimenez has hit the ground running with five goals in as many Europa League ties already. Jota has netted three, including Wolves’ first goal in European competition for nearly 40 years with the opener against Belfast outfit Crusaders.
Last season they terrorised the Premier League as Wolves finished seventh and reached the FA Cup semi-finals. Jimenez finished with 17 goals in all competitions which included him becoming the club’s record scorer in a Premier League season with 13, while Jota ended up with 10.
“We are delighted, knowing they still have things to improve, but the knowledge they have of each other, the complicity between them when they play together is amazing, and sometimes it is just chemistry,” said Wolves head coach Nuno. “They have scored beautiful goals. This is what it is all about in football, especially at Molineux, and in front of our fans in Turin.”
Jimenez and Jota are expected to lead the line for Wolves again on Sunday when they return to Premier League action hosting Burnley.
The Clarets had a similar experience to Wolves last season in that they played in the Europa League. But they seemed to suffer badly for it in the Premier League, with just two wins in their first 23 League games to lie at the foot of the table by the first week in December.
Nuno is happy with Wolves’ approach to the added pressure of extra games. “We try to always learn and see different experiences. We decided to go with our own approach,” he said. “But for sure Sean (Burnley boss Dyche) knows how tough it is because he has been there once. You have the experience and you can truly judge how tough it has been for the boys and it has been very tough.
“I am delighted the players want to embrace it and we want to go, we want to compete. They just want to keep on playing, and keep on growing – this is our main objective now.”
This time Burnley have started with a 3-0 home win against Southampton before going down 2-1 at Arsenal, while they beat Wolves 2-0 at Turf Moor last March.
“They have started the season very well. They are strong team, a team that has been playing for a while together,” said Nuno. “We know their strengths and we want to compete, and the approach is always the same recognising the strengths of our opponents, knowing there will be a weakness, that we want to take advantage of and trying to put your ideas across, especially at Molineux.
“So it’s good to be home in front of our fans but we know is going to be tough, so we are going to fight for each and every ball. First we need to perform well, then we see what is happening after that. First the performance preparation of the game, and then we play the game. Then let us see what happens.”
Nuno has revealed Wolves players have gone into cold storage for the Burnley game – quite literally. The head coach revealed the players entered an oxygen chamber to aid their recovery in the hours after the 3-2 away win against Torino on Thursday night.
“We started recovery immediately after the game was over – we start in the dressing room,” said the boss. “All these things we do to help the players. We went again, in the cold chamber, doing all these things required to get your body ready to go again. The most important job was to recover well and rest and be ready to compete on Sunday again against a very tough team.”