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Wolves boss Nuno concerned VAR could ruin the game

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is concerned VAR could ruin the game.

Nuno’s side had a goal disallowed in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Leicester after VAR ruled Willy Boly had handballed before Leander Dendoncker fired home at the King Power Stadium. New rules state if a goal is scored after any handball in the build-up, it must be disallowed.

Nuno went into the game convinced VAR would improve the game. But events from Leicester have made him think differently. “I’ve been informed by my assistant that it’s probably handball from Boly, is it a handball?” said the Wolves head coach. “Six months ago, it was a goal. These are the questions everybody is going to make and it’s causing discussions.

What I’m concerned with is let’s not ruin the game. Things that were before should not be now. We have such a nice Premier League, such a nice product, we cannot lose it.

It’s what fans come here for, not to celebrate when it’s not a goal, that’s not the real celebration of football, we celebrate when it is a goal. In creating these moments, it’s not good for the atmosphere of the game.”

The VAR decision took around two minutes and Nuno believes the time taken disrupts the flow of the game. “It’s too long, and then after the fans of Leicester, with all my respect, they celebrate a non-goal,” he said. “That’s not the mindset of the game.”

Nuno, however, believes the system will settle down and people will accept its decisions over time. “When something is new, it always causes these kinds of situations, but when time goes by, and with dialogue, things will be OK and this is what the referee was saying, he was explaining the situation,” he added.

I’m going to see the images, but we saw (the same) yesterday in the game and we’re going to see tomorrow and in the next week, until everything is settled down. Apart from that it was a absolutely fantastic game.”

Nuno added: “It was two teams intense, organised. I was talking with Brendan (Rodgers, Leicester manager) and he said that – what a game. Leicester are a very good team, very organised and have players who caused us problems, but we were organised and in shape – we didn’t concede too many things, they had more of the ball, but we had good chances also.

We go home with the sensation that we could have had it, but Leicester could have it also because they had chances, they had the ball and they created a lot of problems for us, but we defended well, and we counter-attacked. We had these chances and things will come naturally.”

Wolves completed the game having travelled 6,370 miles over their trip to Armenia to face PC Pyunik in the Europa League on Thursday night. Nuno was delighted with the energy levels of his squad.

I was happy with recovery of the players,” he said. “How can I not be when a player comes into the dressing room and he has given everything he has? We do it with this mindset and this team spirit they have; we cannot ever lose it. When you work close to each other, protecting each other, everything is easier.

I want my team to compete, I want everything to be fair, and when we draw, lose or win – no issues. This is what the Premier League is about and I’m so proud of being here.

But we are just beginning, everything is the legs, the miles that we’re doing, all these things we have to consider, but I’m very happy and very proud of the players. I am very proud of managing these players.”