Nuno Espirito Santo says Wolves are ‘building a player’ in ‘transformer’ Adama Traore.
The speedy Spaniard is being converted to a wing back by the Molineux head coach and the 23-year-old responded to his gaffer’s patience by creating the first goal for Raul Jimenez in the 2-1 win against Torino to earn the club a place in the group stages after terrorising the Italians in the first leg, when he set up a goal for Diogo Jota and two players were booked for challenges on him.
Nuno admits Traore’s speed is adding a new dimension to their play. “It was important, there’s no doubt that. We’re building a player, getting the best out of him,” he said. “The way he took team up the field, the way he created, and the way he unbalanced the opponents.”
But Nuno admits Traore is very much a work in progress in his new position, however, as he adapts to the defensive responsibilities that come with the wing back role.
“He can do this and he can do other things, but he has to improve a lot.,” admitted the boss. “This time he was stable in defence covering his centre back, winning balls in the air.”
Wolves were given a severe physical test against Torino and Nuno was full of praise for the way the players coming into the team adapted. The boss made four changes with Traore, Jesus Vallejo, Leander Dendoncker and Romain Saiss introduced to the team for the second leg against the Italians, for Matt Doherty, Ryan Bennett, Morgan Gibbs-White and Ruben Neves.
“The boys have been fantastic, amazing,” said the boss. “Coady and Boly played all of the minutes, and others. I cannot say what everyone did but they were fantastic.
“The reaction was fantastic. People came in gave everything they had. They tried to adapt to the shape with all the circumstances, such as dealing with physical battles, aerial balls, set-pieces.
“We have options we can take for the next game, but it has to be based on what we want and how we want to play the next game, and that’s how we’re going to do it. Everybody is healthy, and that is the best thing.”
Nuno admitted Torino were every bit as difficult as he and his backroom staff envisaged. “It was very tough. The way they pressed, they controlled the game in midfield…so for us it was very difficult,” he added.