Nuno Espirito Santo has prescribed Wolves a hard work remedy to cure their defensive ills.
Saturday’s 5-2 defeat at home to Chelsea means Wolves have shipped eight goals in their last two games. They are still searching for their first Premier League win of the season after going six top-flight matches without a victory to equal their worst run under Nuno. The loss was the biggest under the Portuguese and the club’s heaviest in three years, since a 4-0 reverse to Barnsley in September, 2016.
Individual errors have accounted to huge parts in most of those eight goals conceded in the last two games. Nuno preferred not to make it any worse for those at fault but has prescribed a simple answer to the problem – hard graft on the training ground.
“The only solution? Work,” he insisted. “It’s not just mistakes, it’s all the team. We don’t separate things defensively or offensively, it’s the team. We need to become better, play better, organise better, be more aggressive, more intense, everybody knows. This is my job. It’s not a case of when we win everything is OK, when we lose everything is bad. That’s why I say we have to realise what happened.”
Jesus Vallejo, who made his Premier League debut with Ryan Bennett controversially axed from the squad, was partly at fault for two of the goals, while captain Conor Coady was also blamed for his part in two more, while goalkeeper Rui Patricio might have done better for the 30-yarder from Fikayo Tomori for Chelsea’s first goal.
Asked what must change, Nuno admitted some of the goals were down to individual mistakes which they can’t afford to repeat. “We have to change and become better,” he said. “We cannot make mistakes. We will analyse the mistakes. What happened? How can we avoid it? Sometimes it’s credit to the players of Chelsea, good goals, but some of the eight (goals against in two games) were mistakes that we must not repeat.”
Wolves have played an extra six games more than their Premier League rivals because of their early start in the Europa League. They face another six more in the group stages, with the opener at home to Braga on Thursday the first of four matches in another hectic 10-day spell.
Nuno will not accept the workload or busy schedule as an excuse for their poor start to the Premier League season however. “It has nothing to do with that (Europa League),” he insisted. “We knew and we anticipated it, and we worked very well. We had qualifiers, play-offs, in the meantime tough opponents in the Premier League.
“We prepared well in the international break and it’s a new cycle again. We want to embrace this challenge. We want to compete in every game, better than we competed against Chelsea.”
Wolves have taken just three points from their opening five matches, six less than at the same stage last campaign. Nuno has denied his side are suffering from ‘second season syndrome’, however.
“It’s the third season for us. We started in the Championship, Thursday we play Europa League – we are the same,” he said. “We have to work hard but we don’t stay too much time in the past, we just look at Thursday.”