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Nuno demands improved starts for Wolves despite win

Nuno Espirito Santo wants Wolves to start better after they came from behind to win 2-1 at Slovan Bratislava.

Wolves continued their 100 per cent away record in Europe this season as they made it five straight wins on the continent with a 2-1 success to follow Besiktas (1-0), Torino (3-2), FC Pyunik (4-0) and Crusaders (4-1).

They also made it seven matches unbeaten in all competitions, but had to do it the hard way after second-half goals from Romain Saiss and Raul Jimenez overcame Andraz Sporar’s opener.

Wolves also finished the game with 10 men after substitute Diogo Jota was sent off for two bookable offences within 60 seconds in the 87th minute.

Everybody’s happy. I think the first half was not so good. It’s something we have to analyse, why we required so much effort,” said head coach Nuno.

In the first half I felt we didn’t play so good and we conceded a goal that we cannot. It was only one man (left on his own).

But the second half was very, very good. I’m happy for the fans – the 200 here were buzzing.

This is what we wanted to do, we wanted to play well, enjoy ourselves and show our talent.

I think the team showed good things and we keep on going.”

Slovan took the game to Wolves in the first half and Wolves were on the back foot trying to deal with them.

In the end it took a substitution by Nuno to bring on Adama Traore at half-time to help turn the game around.

It was not a surprise at all. We mentioned it yesterday that we knew about Slovan and they were very good in the first-half,” said the boss.

They caused us a lot of problems as they’re a well organised team with a good manager and we expect another tough match (at Molineux), but now we have to focus on Newcastle on Sunday.

We play against Newcastle and then we’ll start thinking again. It’s game by game, but it’s going to be tough, for sure, because they’re a very good team.”

Wolves also had to contend with other unusual obstacles, namely a supposedly closed stadium packed with 20,333 supporters who were virtually all under 14 years old, and a bouncy pitch, all of which can’t have helped them settle in the first 45 minutes.

It was noisy. People make noise. It’s better to play in a stadium like this,” added Nuno. “Once again, I think the message was clear, so let’s stop racism and the people heard the same message.

They all enjoyed themselves because of something someone did wrong.

But it cannot repeat itself. I think it was a good message and a good environment.”

Regarding the playing surface, Nuno admitted it was a pain in the grass.

We had a training session yesterday where we could see the pitch was not in better condition, so it was tough to play football, the ball was always bouncing,” he said.

But it’s the same for both teams, so we have to adapt quicker.”

Jota, who is still feeling his way to full match fitness after missing four games with a toe injury, earned two yellow cards in quick succession for needless fouls.

Nuno said: “Of course, we are quite frustrated (with Jota). Two or three minutes before, the ball was out and it was our ball. It made us come out of concentration and he made a mistake.”

Wolves, who made five changes including only a third appearance for left-sided centre back Max Kilman, started with a 3-5-2 formation before switching to 3-4-3 at half-time.

Nuno revealed he felt the need to change at half-time to assert themselves more on Slovan.

Why did we change? Because of what happened in the first-half – we were allowing Slovan to press us and we needed width, that is why,” said the boss.

It’s good to be versatile throughout the matches. We have players versatile enough to do different positions inside the same shape.

It’s one of the good factors we have among us, so let’s use them when the game requires, hoping the performance will always be good, like this time.”

The head coach insists he is happy to rotate between the two systems because of the confidence he has with his personnel.

It depends on a lot of things, the types of options you have, the players you have,” he added.

We have to analyse each moment and the players that were out and those coming in, so it depends on a lot of things.

It’s a good thing we have two things we dominate and we can use when we need to.

With one shape we can get good results, good results with another shape, but what’s more important is the idea.”

Kilman, 22, made only his second senior start but was preferred to on-loan Real Madrid centre back Jesus Vallejo, who wasn’t in the squad after his uncomfortable showing aaganst Southampton last Saturday.

He did well. He took the moment that we concede the goal because our defensive line was good,” said Nuno.

It was much better in the second half, more aggressive on the opponent, but they did good.

He has to improve, he’s a young man, but we also had TP (Taylor Perry) on the bench, that also shows that we try to bring players up and try to build a better squad.”