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Nuno: First half display is the benchmark for Wolves

Nuno Espirito Santo has told Wolves their first-half display is the benchmark after they earned a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Wolves earned a well-deserved point at Selhurst Park as Diogo Jota cancelled out Leander Dendoncker’s 47th-minute own goal at the death for a 1-1 draw. The Portuguese’s strike in the fifth minute of time added on ensured Wolves ended their run of three straight defeats after Joel Ward’s 47th-minute deflected shot seemed to have sentenced them to a fourth straight loss.

Head coach Nuno is convinced the performance in the first 45 minutes, when they created numerous chances, is the way to go after claiming it was the difference in helping his side get something from the game. “We have to realise what we did in the first half is the way we should play,” said Nuno. “The first half was very good – this is what we should look at; how we did things, how we played, how we controlled and managed the game, how we produced so many chances and that it’s important to punish. This is the growing of the team, having the kind of performance that we did in the first-half.”

Nuno also praised the character and determination of his team after ending a run of three straight defeats in all competitions. “It shows a lot about the character and determination of the team,” said the head coach. “To produce this kind of effort having played Sunday, Thursday, Sunday, scoring in the 95th minute, up and down, running like the boys did, showed a lot of character and determination.

There were some chances, we made some saves, everybody was organised. It is about the heart and we had a lot of heart and a lot of character. But I think it’s more about the head at this moment. It’s fantastic. There are positives, there are negatives, good things, bad things.”

The draw at Palace is part of a run of eight games in 36 days for Wolves over three competitions. Nuno warned his players they need to be ready for the challenge as they seek their first Premier League win of the season.

What we are living now is a challenge for all of us,” he said. “It’s not about that (the first win), it’s about what we have ahead of us. We’re going to play Thursday, Sunday, over and over again, and we have to be ready for it.”

Saiss’s sending off was Wolves’ second fter Willy Boly at Everton. Nuno, who is never one to criticise officials, wasn’t convinced about referee Stuart Attwell’s decision to send him off. “The first yellow card, I’m not sure,” he said. “The second one was very close to me, but the referee decided – he saw it and if he saw it clear, they have to decide.

The red card broke us, it disorganised us – you can see how many chances Crystal Palace had after that. It didn’t galvanise us, it made us realise that from that moment on, it was all about the heart.”