Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo says his job is to make players versatile – and hailed Adama Traore as the example.
Traore has flourished this season despite the challenge of switching positions between right wing back in a four and five-man midfield, right-sided forward and striker.
Others have shown a similar flexibility, with Romain Saiss switching between centre back and central midfield, Conor Coady having played central midfield and right back before head coach Nuno converting him to a sweeper and Diogo Jota adapting to a strike role after playing on the left wing.
Recently we have seen Leander Dendoncker and Matt Doherty deployed as central defenders either side of Coady after previously playing central midfield and right wing back respectively, while Doherty previously spent around 18 months playing left back before Nuno’s time. In addition, Jonny Castro Otto can play either wing back role.
Nuno believes making players more adaptable is part of his job as his side prepare to return to Europa League action at home to Slovan Bratislava on Thursday night.
“Building a small squad like we have, you need versatile players,” said the head coach.
“I think it’s our job to look at the players, see how they can improve and eventually see if they can play a different position. It happened with Coady, for example.
“We’ve been using Adama the way we think is best for the team, but he’s one of many options we have to consider.
“We want to play well as a team, knowing each player individually can bring new things, solutions and talent.
“I think all the players have to be versatile and learn to adapt to different positions.
“Adama is one of the players able to do that; he’s been doing well, but we have other players in the same situation.
“Since the beginning, even Matt Doherty was playing on the left side of a back four just over two seasons ago, so I think it’s our job, and the job of each manager, to find out the best of each player we have.
“I hope it’s good for their confidence to discover these new abilities; Adama is confident because we trust him. We base the decisions on the analysis and the beliefs we have.”
Wolves host Slovan Bratislava in the Europa League on Thursday night and Nuno wants his side to gain control of the game as quickly as possible.
They have recovered from trailing to take a point six times this season in the Premier League – the latest being Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal – while 86 per cent of their goals have come in the second half of games.
“We played good (against Arsenal), there were a lot of positives, and a lot of things not so good – always the same analysis – but we did a good performance,” said Nuno.
“It’s important to start the games well, I will not say a fast start, but to start well, manage the game knowing the game has different moments.
“You have to defend, you have to control the ball, but we always want to start controlling and managing the game.
“If you can be a better team during the first minutes, then I think we can impose that and sustain throughout the game. That is what we want.
“It’s like always – no matter what momentum we have, we are always confident we can compete.”