Nuno Espirito Santo admits he felt a sense of ‘grief’ from Wolves’ last FA Cup game, like losing a loved one.
The Cup semi-final defeat against Watford at Wembley when Wolves were beaten 3-2 after leading 2-0 at Wembley left the head coach heartbroken, as he revealed before Saturday’s third round tie at home to Manchester United.
“It was a couple of days of grief. It was very sad,” said Nuno, 45. “You need to make grief. When you lose someone the best way is to grieve. Not only me, I think everybody involved felt that sadness.”
Wolves took time to get over the semi-final loss. Beaten 3-1 at Southampton in their next game, six days afterwards, after being given a few days off, they looked flat.
So immediately after the game at St Mary’s, Nuno took the squad away to La Manga for a bonding trip.
That change of scene finally seemed to work as they drew one and won their next three games.
Nuno added: “After (the semi-final) we played at Southampton and didn’t perform well.
“Clearly we were sad, we weren’t able to raise ourselves again. But then we went away for a couple of days, we made our grief and we came back stronger.
“I’m not grieving now. One thing that happens in life is you go low and then you stand up and fight again. This is us.”
The United game will be Wolves’ 36th game of the season but Nuno is expected to field a strong team and will take the Cup seriously again.
“It’s a competition we enjoy and we want to compete and play. That is what we enjoy the most,” added Nuno.
Wolves are unbeaten in their last four games against United, beating them 2-1 in last season’s quarter-final before repeating the feat two weeks later in the Premier League. The other two meetings ended 1-1.
But the hero of the two wins, Diogo Jota – who scored in each game – is out with a dead leg.
Nuno insists their recent record counts for nothing, adding: “It’s a new game so new things will happen. It’s a new challenge.
“It’s going to be tough because they are a fantastic team. But we are motivated and ready to go.”