Nuno Espirito Santo insists Wolves’ players are embracing their busy schedule.
Wolves face Torino at a sold-out Molineux on Thursday in their seventh game in 22 days and their fifth in 15. It is part of a hectic spell of nine in a month, with Everton away still to come in the Premier League on Sunday before the first international break. In addition, there has been plenty of travelling, with Wolves’ first eight games of the season played across four countries – England, Northern Ireland, Armenia and Italy.
Nuno is expected to ring the changes again to rotate his squad and keep players fresh. Jesus Vallejo, Adama Traore, Romain Saiss, Leander Dendoncker, Ruben Vinagre and Pedro Neto are again set to start for the visit of the Italians after figuring in the first leg before being stood down for the visit of Burnley on Sunday.
But the head coach believes the whole squad are excited by the crammed fixture list.
“It’s true, we are really embracing all the games, not only the competitions, but all the games we have in front of us,” said the boss. “It’s been good, I think for all the club it’s a new experience, but I think we’ve prepared well and the way we’ve dealt with the travelling has been fantastic, so I’m very pleased for the club and for the players.
“We just embrace the games and then we want to compete. They want to play, to raise their game, improve and play. This is what football is all about – to play games.”
Wolves lead 3-2 from the first leg in Turin when the Serie A side pushed the visitors hard, earning a late penalty to narrow the gap.
“We saw in the game there against them how difficult it was,” acknowledged Nuno. “They are a very good team, with very good players and a good manager.
“We’ve analysed them once again, and the qualities are there – we can see the difficulties they present, and the quality of the squad, so we are aware of everything and we want to play.”
Torino beat Sassoulo 2-1 in their opening game in Serie A last weekend. Nuno added: “We analysed their game (against Sassoulo) and we passed on the details to the players. We get the details of all the teams, all the players, all the things they can do, then pass on the right information to the players to perform.”
Wolves are just 90 minutes from the group stages but Nuno refuses to think that far ahead. “Our preparation is always game by game. The players look at the game of tomorrow, they don’t look further ahead, just think about tomorrow,” he said.
“We want to compete tomorrow, we prepare for the game, we know we’re going to play at home, and we want to perform. We want to play good against a very tough team in Torino – a very tough opponent.
“It started in the Asia Trophy with big games against tough teams and we started against Crusaders, Pyunik, home, away, it’s game by game. Tomorrow is another one and then Sunday we’ll have another one and we’ll see what the future is ahead of us.”
Despite their lead, Nuno insists Wolves will approach the tie with a clean slate. He added: “It’s a new game. The result we had before doesn’t mean anything; it’s a new game. We start from zero. This is the way we approach it, like we approach all the games.
“The players don’t think about that (sitting back and protecting the lead). It’s the way we compete in all the games, the way we want to do things, how we want to play, recognising we have a tough opponent in front of us, taking all the care we need, knowing there will be weaknesses, trying to take advantage of them, but we play, play the game.
“We don’t take anything that happened before. It’s a new game.
“It’s the philosophy we try to embrace since day one. Knowing every day is important, how we prepare for the competition is the most important thing. Then, what they want is to play and put all these things that we train for here on to the pitch, in front of a full house at Molineux.
“What else could be better? It’s the best thing there is, to play at home, in front of a full house, so let’s enjoy it and play.”
After taking 1,500 supporters to Turin, Wolves will be roared on by a sold-out Molineux again and Nuno is looking for the the fans to do their bit again.
“(The fans’ support in Torino) was amazing,” said the head coach. “We listened to them. It’s important for us, the help they give us, the way they push the team, the way they enjoy going alongside with the team and with us.
“The intimidating aspect of it, I don’t know, but what we know is what we like. We enjoy playing at Molineux in front of our fans.”