Proud Nuno Espirito Santo revealed Wolves must get used to playing when they’re tired as he admitted they were below par in the 1-1 draw against Burnley.
It took a penalty from Raul Jimenez in the seventh minute of time added on to maintain Wolves’ unbeaten start to cancel out Ashley Barnes’s 13th-minute strike as Wolves maintained their unbeaten start with their third straight Premier League draw. Jimenez had earlier his the post while Morgan Gibbs-White and substitute Adama Traore fired wide. But Burnley hit the bar with a Ben Mee header which saw Ryan Bennett nudge the ball against his own post while Chris Wood was brilliantly denied by keeper Rui Patricio.
“When they are tired the best decisions are always difficult to make, but it’s something we have to improve on – playing with tiredness and managing the game,” said head coach Nuno. “It’s a tough cycle – we have to go again on Thursday. We have to recover and go again, but we embrace everything. “I’m very proud of the boys; I’ve told them that, but we have to go again on Thursday. But the performance, of course, was not the best one.”
Wolves have played seven games in 25 days this month, including five in the last fortnight. Nuno is happy with his players’ reaction after making five changes from Thursday’s 3-2 win away to Torino in the Europa League. “I’m pleased with the outcome in the end; the way the boys fought until the end, because they got this fantastic result, and the fans could celebrate,” Nuno acknowledged.
“We are very aware of the cycle of games and the things we’ve been doing. We started competing on July 25, so we’ve had a lot to deal with, but it’s about how we want to do things and using all the resources we have, trying to manage the squad.
“It was tough, but we got a good reaction – the fans felt the boys gave everything. The way the boys fought, the way the boys gave everything, the patience they had, the boys worked very hard.”
Wolves’ defence was forced to deal with plenty of aerial balls as Burnley looked to exploit the threat of Chris Wood and Barnes. Nuno admitted it had been a very difficult test for his side.
“It was a tough game. We knew it was going to be tough; Burnley is such a difficult team to play because they do things very well,” said the boss. “They got the goal and they caused us many troubles.
“They are so good at holding the play up with Wood and Barnes and expecting support from the midfield. When you are attacking and you get a counter-attack like this, it’s tough. It’s a stressful game that required a lot of physicality from us, but they’re a fantastic team and it was tough for us.”
Wolves had an agonising wait for VAR to ratify their penalty and Nuno admits it’s going to take time for everyone to get used to the new system and rules.
“(While waiting for the decision) I was thinking I don’t want to listen to the stadium singing this song,” he said. “It’s not good for football, for the atmosphere we have – then I think about the penalty.
“In those moments you don’t think about anything. You’re just waiting to see. The referees see it, they have time to analyse it and we have to be supportive of that.
“It will take time for everybody; managers, players, fans, people at home, journalists, we’ve all got to get used to VAR and we must get used to it.”