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Ryan Bennett gives Nuno a Wolves decision to ponder

By Rosie Swarbrick | Wolves | Published:

Nuno Espirito Santo says Ryan Bennett is recovering his top form as he ponders defensive changes for Sunday’s trip to Brighton.

Ryan Bennett

Nuno reunited Romain Saiss with Conor Coady and Leander Dendoncker in the back three after his suspension for the 2-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday.

And after seeing Bennett return from a groin injury as a late substitute to help Wolves to their first league clean sheet since the 2-0 win at Manchester City in October, Nuno is considering his options for the Amex.

He said: “(Bennett) was on the bench, he is getting better, recovering his top form. He will work today and then we can decide.

“It is not good to have players out, everyone has to be inside of the squad.

“We had to find a solution to replace (Romain) against Sheffield United.

“Max did it, we decided against West Ham we would go with Romain and we still have today to decide who will play against Brighton. The important thing is trying to balance the squad.

“Even when a player is not involved he trains and everyone is on the same level physically, technically and tactically.”

Nuno gave his players the day off on Thursday after 21 days of back-to-back work. And he says it was needed.

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He said: “It is important that they understand that a day off with a tight turnaround for Sunday is a day to rest and recover.

“A day to spend time with your family at home, rest, eat well and join us again on Friday. I hope they enjoyed it.

“It was necessary, a need, a well-deserved day off.”

Wolves could stretch their unbeaten league run to 11 at Brighton. If they do, they will equal a record run from the 1962-63 season.

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Wolves started that season with an 8-1 win over Manchester City and only lost to Everton in the October to lose their unbeaten crown.

Nuno is proud of this season’s run, but determined to keep improving.

He said: “We are proud, but we have to keep on going. That is our philosophy.

“What we did before can only serve as motivation for growing, improving and competing. We have to compete, to play.

“Now is the time to prepare ourselves, we still have the training session of today, but Brighton is a very good team, get good results, and we know it’s going to be very demanding.”

Historically the seaside of East Sussex is not a happy hunting ground for Wolves, who have only ever beaten Brighton four times in the league at home and away.

Graham Potter’s men will be on a high too having beaten Arsenal 2-1 in midweek.

And Nuno will be poring over footage of that game before Sunday’s date.

He said: “We saw the game and we’re going to see it again today and tomorrow, trying to get not only the game against Arsenal, but all the details we can give the players on Brighton. They have their strengths, but they have weaknesses.”

Like Portuguese native Nuno, Brighton boss Potter left his homeland in the quest to learn more about the game.

Potter managed Swedish side Östersunds FK before returning to the UK with Welsh side Swansea. He took over the reins at Brighton in 2019 and Nuno praised Potter for spreading his wings.

He said: “It is difficult, but I think it is good because it gives you new experiences, gives you a new vision of things, different cultures.

“It can only improve you. Graham did it. We did it because we enjoy the game and wanted to keep learning and finding out new things.”

Wolves were looking over their shoulder at the start of the season, but now sit fifth in the table and in the last 32 of the Europa League.

And Nuno gave his thoughts on why that was the case. He said: “Many circumstances happen. We started the season very early.

“Numerous factors – tough opponents and games.

“A lot of emotional feelings possibly due to the play-off and all these things.

“We did well and we compete.”

Rosie Swarbrick

By Rosie Swarbrick
@rosieswarb

Wolves correspondent for the Express & Star.

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