Menu Close

Nuno rewards Wolves for Hammers win – with first day off in three weeks

Nuno Espirito Santo has given Wolves’ squad their first day off in three weeks after the 2-0 win against West Ham.

Wolves players have faced a gruelling season – the Hammers game was their 28th of the campaign, four more than any other team in the Premier League.

This was their third game in seven days and they face eight matches in 29 days in December, including two with 45 hours’ between them after Christmas – Manchester City at home then Liverpool away.

But first they are having a rest day before returning to prepare for Sunday’s trip to Brighton.

Tomorrow (Thursday) I’m giving them off after 21 days without a day off, but they deserved it,” said head coach Nuno.

It’s hard work, the way they prepare themselves, compete, rest and build their ambitions to improve.

They know the main point of the day off is to rest, to recover, because we have to go again, and again, and again.

It’s a very long season, we’re very happy, because we decided to be this way, as small squad and everybody helping each other.”

Nuno paid tribute to the fans for lifting the team with the atmosphere they created as goals from Leander Dendoncker and substitute Patrick Cutrone made it seven unbeaten at Molineux, and 10 unbeaten in the Premier League – equalling their longest such run in the top flight since January 1972 to put Wolves fifth.

Everybody in Molineux was a part of it. The way Molineux supported us was amazing, even when we felt we lost control of the game,” said the boss.

Suddenly this voice comes out and the players feel it. We keep on going, we have to compete, play, improve.

It was a good game, a good performance, I think we played very good. We stayed organised, and although West Ham are a very good team, we didn’t concede chances.

We got a clean sheet – I was very happy for that, and very happy for the hard work of the boys, because they went until the end and it’s good.”

Manuel Pellegrini’s side failed to trouble Rui Patricio apart from a superb effort from Pablo Fornals that was clawed away and a poor second touch from Robert Snodgrass when he was clean through.

But Nuno still felt they always needed a second goal to seal victory.

It was very important for us to score in that moment,” he said. “We want to try to avoid the last-minute situations that can happen in football.

We had chances, we had clear breaks, counter attacks, clear chances, but I’m happy for Patrick because it’s good for him. We need all the help we can get.

It’s important for the team, for everybody, because this specific game we had chances, counter attacks, but we know West Ham is a fantastic team, with the quality they have, any minute they can break and score.”

Cutrone has only played 38 minutes’ football since the start of November and broke down in tears after scoring.

Nuno admitted the Italian had played his part, though he played down Cutrone’s emotions.

It was very important for us and this is what we want – players that come from the bench and give us options, and solutions,” he added. “We are a small squad, we need everybody.”

Midfielder Joao Moutinho was back to his best as he provided the assist for Dendoncker’s goal.

We know Joao. The way we manage the game is about the decision making, the timing, the tempo that Ruben and Joao, players that play in the middle and have more contact with the ball, decide. Joao did a good job,” said Nuno.