Nuno Espirito Santo admits Adama Traore is a long-term project for Wolves that requires patience – but says he is ‘amazing’.
Traore has shown he is getting to grips with his new position of right wing back, catching the eye after replacing Matt Doherty at half-time in the 1-1 draw against Manchester United before playing the full game in the 3-2 win away to Torino in the Europa League, when he set up Diogo Jota’s goal.
But the Molineux head coach acknowledges the £18m signing from Middlesbrough is not the finished article. “He is doing well. But Adama is a long process where we have to realise he has to go step by step,” said Nuno. “There are things that need to improve, but that takes time, but the best thing is he is willing to do it and he’s facing the challenge of playing in a new position, with new tasks and giving special characteristics for the team, and he is doing amazing.
“He has to know the game and must recognise this takes time. He is doing well, but he is not finished yet. We really appreciate it and the team is pleased to have such good options. It makes the ideas, the squad able to change and make different approaches to the game because of the opponent, because of the schedule, because of all these things.”
Nuno added: “We didn’t work a little, we worked a lot. It is about getting the routines of the team inside of the team, inside of the shape and getting all that he can give us. He must go again knowing there will be ups and downs, but the right moments will come and the best thing we have is we trust our players.”
Nuno says Traore isn’t the only player who is learning and adapting to new challenges in the squad. “Adama is no exception to what is happening in the squad,” he said. “We also have Patrick Cutrone, Pedro Neto, Morgan Gibbs-White – all these players that sometimes you don’t see too much of, they are working very hard knowing the moment will come and the answer must be there, the performance must be there.
“We give them moments to express themselves. Hopefully he keeps progressing, like other players are doing. It is about growing as a team and to face all these challenges we have, and it is so tough, but we want to embrace it.”
Traore was preferred to Matt Doherty in Turin and Nuno suggested the Ireland international is still being managed carefully after his knee injury curtailed his availability in pre-season.
“He is OK. He is doing well and is better,” said the boss. “He had a problem, but Matt was different. He had this knock in the first training session against Huddersfield (in a behind closed doors friendly at St Georges Park).
“It tarred his preparation and we appreciate the effort he made so soon in Pyunik and again at home with Man United and all these things.
“But now there are other options and Matt needs to be ready again. But having everybody available is good for us and it is only possible because the players are doing an amazing job in terms of hard work, dedication, believing and taking care of themselves. Matt is no exception on what is happening in the squad.”