Nuno Espirito Santo put his axing of Ryan Bennett down to ‘profile and shapes’ after Wolves crashed to a 5-2 defeat to Chelsea.
Head coach Nuno dropped Bennett to hand Jesus Vallejo his Premier League debut as one of two changes to his back three with Willy Boly suspended but it all went wrong on the day the club celebrated 130 years of Molineux. Wolves suffered their biggest defeat under the Portuguese and their heaviest for three years.
Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick and Fikayo Tomori one as Wolves trailed 3-0 at the break then 4-0 before Romain Saiss and substitute Patrick Cutrone reduced the deficit only for Mason Mount to score Chelsea’s fifth. Vallejo was partly at fault for two goals, as was captain Conor Coady on a forgettable day for Wolves’ normally reliable defence. Bennett wasn’t even in the matchday squad, with youngster Max Kilman on the bench.
“It’s about the right profile and the shape of the team – Boly, Saiss, Max on the left, Jesus, Bennett, Dion Sanderson on the right side. It’s about shape, organisation,” said Nuno. “It’s a decision. We decided to play Jesus, Coady and Saiss. It’s about the profiles; we had Max on the bench because of that. I have a solution where (Leander) Dendoncker can come back and do that.”
Wolves are quickly back into action, with the visit of Braga in their Europa League group stages opener on Thursday kicking off a spell of four games in 10 days. Asked if Bennett and Boly will return to the squad on Thursday, the head coach said: “I don’t know, I can’t answer that question yet.”
Wolves have now conceded eight goals in their last two Premier League games as opposed to two in their previous three. “It was a bad performance – a bad, bad game,” reflected Nuno. “I thought we started well, pressing and with good organisation. When the ball was ours we were creating and then we suffered a goal and we didn’t react well. We made a mistake and it was tough.
“When you play bad you cannot complain. Chelsea played good and they have good players. We must congratulate them.
“But it’s too many goals and too many mistakes. We need to realise what happened and not repeat it. We have to work hard and not go through it again. We have a chance Thursday.
“We will look at the game, see what happened and prepare for the next one. We need to react and not stay for too long in the past.”