Menu Close

Nuno: How Wolves will celebrate any awards and why I have a small squad

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo with another award, this time Outstanding Coach Abroad, awarded by the Portuguese media for 2018-19.

Nuno Espirito Santo insists any awards won by him and his multi-nominated players are for the team – as he revealed why he keeps a small squad.

The Portuguese has again been nominated for the Premier League’s manager of the month award, while 15-goal top scorer Raul Jimenez is in the running for player of the month, and midfielders Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho are up for goal of the month category.

The nominations come after a memorable month in which Wolves stretched their unbeaten run in the Premier League and Europa League, going fifth in the former and reaching the knockout stages of the latter.

“It shows the commitment of the team. It’s an individual prize, but it’s a reflection of the work of the team,” said the head coach.

Every time we have a nomination, every time we achieve something, it’s for us. It’s a prize for everybody involved in the club.”

Wolves recovered from an undistinguished start in the league, where they were in the bottom two with three points out of their first 15, to go fifth. But the Molineux chief insists his squad have not surprised him.

No, this is something we started three seasons ago,” he said. “We do the same thing when we were in the Championship.

We do the same routines and habits and through that, we create a character and a philosophy. I’m proud of that.

We have a way we work, a way where everyone has to be involved and gives the best of themselves.

Everyone is involved and is trying to develop and I’m happy for that. Everybody must – and they should – rise to the challenge of the idea.”

The Wolves boss, who is up against Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool), Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) and Chris Wilder (Sheffield United), steered his side to a 1-1 draw at Arsenal before 2-1 victories over Aston Villa and AFC Bournemouth.

It’s the fourth time the Portuguese has been up for the award since promotion into the Premier League.

To vote for Nuno, Jimenez, Neves or Moutinho, go to this article and click where asked:

Jimenez has been nominated for the EA Sports Player of the Month award after scoring in all five matches in the month in all competitions.

In the Premier League, he headed the equaliser at the Emirates before scoring the winners in the other two games.

Jimenez is up against Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Lys Mousset (Sheffield United), Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur), and Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

In the running for the Budweiser Goal of the Month contest, Neves is nominated for his stunning strike against Villa at Molineux, while Moutinho’s superb free-kick at Bournemouth is also in contention.

The mercurial midfielder curled the ball into the top right corner with a direct free-kick from an acute angle, with ‘keeper Aaron Ramsdale having no chance of keeping the unstoppable effort out.

Moutinho turned provider for Neves, his square pass from a free kick teeing up his team-mate from outside the Villa box before curling the ball beyond Orjan Nyland.

Also nominated for the award is Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Harry Wilson (AFC Bournemouth), Fabinho (Liverpool), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) and Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United).

Voting closes at 6pm on Monday December 9.

Despite their European commitments which have them preparing for their 29th game of the season at Brighton on Sunday, Nuno has chosen to work with the smallest squad in the Premier League.

Just 21 players are listed on the back of the home programme, but of those, midfelder Bruno Jordao hasn’t made his Premier League debut and is out injured, Willy Boly is injured long term and Max Kilman has only just made his first Premier League start.

The benefits of working with basically the same group of players are that it’s something that can always make us better, because the more time we spend and stay working with the same people, the more we create complicities and small societies among the players is better,” explained Nuno.

That is possible because everybody is involved during the training sessions and the games.

Even if you’re not going to play, you’re in the meeting, you’re inside of the game.

Even if you’re on the bench, you have a chance to play in the game, so it’s a continuing process where nobody is ever out of the competition. That’s the idea. But it’s not 20 or 21 players.”