Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo insists Adama Traore is ‘1,000 per cent’ with the right manager – but says he can improve after he was nominated as a contender for Premier League’s player of the month.
Traore is one of eight contenders for the award after a tremendous December in which he terrorised Manchester City and Tottenham, scoring against both.
“How can he improve? A lot of things,” said head coach Nuno. “We did 32 crosses to the box [in the 2-1 defeat against Watford]. There are two parts to that: who crosses, and who is in the box.
“We have to put this together like making a puzzle. So he has to improve on his crossing, for example.”
Traore has said he thinks he can get quicker. But Nuno wants him to concentrate on his speed of thought rather than how fast he can sprint.
“Nothing is impossible but he’s already fast,” said the Portuguese. “The space for improvement is not on his speed. There are a lot of aspects he should improve. He’s already fast enough.
“He’s getting better and better. That’s what you expect from a player.”
Traore has looked a transformed player this season. He scored once and contributed three assists in 36 games last season but has already netted five and added six assists in 30 matches in 2019-20.
Nuno says Traore deserves all the credit for his improvement, not the staff.
“It’s not me who took Traoré [to a higher level]. He was the one that really made it happen. It’s all down to the player,” added the boss .
“He’s been working hard, not only this season but since he arrived. He’s doing well.
“I’m delighted he’s in contention for this award because he deserves it. He’s a fantastic player and a hard-working boy.
Spurs players apparently urged their manager Jose Mourinho to sign Traore this month after his performance against them in the recent 2-1 defeat at Molineux.
But, asked if there is any chance he will leave, Nuno was unequivocal: “No,” he said.
Nuno has managed Traore and against him, when the winger was at Middlesbrough in 2017-18.
Asked if the Spaniard scares opponents, he said: “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question.
“I’m not setting up against Adama. I did that two seasons ago when we played Middlesbrough.
“I think it was Barry Douglas was many times one against one with him and we handled him quite well.”
Traore is up against:
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool
Emiliano Buendía, Norwich City
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Everton
Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City
Ben Foster, Watford
Danny Ings, Southampton
Jamie Vardy, Leicester City
Voting opened at 11am on Friday, January 3 and closes at 6pm on Monday, January 6. You can vote for Traore via www.wolves.co.uk