Wolves comment: Nuno has found the right gear for Adama Traore
A stunning showing as a substitute against Manchester United and a terrific display at Torino – Adama Traore may no longer be Wolves’ wildcard.
This is the best we have seen the Spaniard, and the crucial part is that consistency.
A year ago, or even as recently as the closing stages of last season, Traore would not have performed so well in back-to-back games, especially within 72 hours of each other.
For every flash of brilliance – leaving defenders in the dust with his frightening acceleration – the fundamentals were not there.
Simple passes were not reaching their intended targets and crosses were hit in hope, rather than an expectation that someone was going to get on the end of it.
But, after a full pre-season under Nuno Espirito Santo, Traore has started to realise the potential Wolves saw when they signed him for a then club-record £18million from Middlesbrough last summer.
Operating at right-wing-back, the former Barcelona man is trusted to attack with the same intent he always has done, but now has the added responsibility of tracking runners. And he has flourished.
The signs were promising against both Crusaders and FC Pyunik at Molineux in Europa League qualifying.
Neither side could prevent Traore from charging up the flank – from the halfway line to the byline – and delivering the ball into the box. The calibre of those teams had to be taken into account, though.
After all, they were nowhere near the level Wolves face week in and week out in the Premier League.
But then came the game-changing performance against United, which we could soon be looking back upon as Traore’s breakout performance in gold and black.
An injection of pace was needed to get back into the game against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, and he brought that in spades to race past Luke Shaw at will.
Just as impressive, though, was that he knew when to cut inside and give it to one of the midfielders, or when to play it back to one of the defenders as Wolves looked to retain possession.
It was exciting, but it was not all just gung-ho. There was thought behind every move.
Cristian Ansaldi – who counts Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid as old clubs – was run ragged by Traore in Turin too.
His composure to set up Diogo Jota was telling. He did not rush things and look for the far post. He saw Jota was in space and picked him out with a well-weighted low drive. It was superb.
There have been plenty of questions when it comes to Traore, and it has largely been a case of expecting the unexpected and casting him as a wildcard.
But, based on United and Torino, we now know to look out for sheer speed, decent defending and a fair few assists.
Burnley are Wolves’ opponents tomorrow and Traore could have a poor game.
Regardless, Nuno’s Ferrari has set out on the road to success.