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Manchester United v Wolves: Nuno's lot ready if it goes to penalties

By Joe Edwards | Wolves | Published:

Nuno Espirito Santo insists his Wolves players are fully prepared for the prospect of penalties at Manchester United – after ‘reproducing the situation’ in training.

Ruben Neves was one of the penalty-takers in Wolves’ last shoot-out success (AMA)

There was nothing to separate the two sides at Molineux a couple of weeks ago, so they are doing battle again at Old Trafford tonight, writes Joe Edwards.

But if it finishes level this time around after 90 minutes, there will be extra time – and if still level following that – spot-kicks.

Nuno and his players, though, are not fazed by that possibility as they have been going over them in great detail – all the players even walking from the halfway line before taking the shot from 12 yards – at Compton over the past few days.

“Yes. Every player took their penalties in practice,” said the Wolves chief.

“In the eventuality we go to overtime, we have to assess the players on the pitch and make the right decisions.

“We try to reproduce the situation.

“We make the player walk from the halfway line and take his time to focus and concentrate and take his penalty. It’s his moment. I totally believe that routines create habits.”

Nuno’s side have won their last two shoot-outs as well, beating Reading in the Carabao Cup earlier this season and outdoing Manchester City in the Asia Trophy last summer.

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Nuno Espirito Santo has had his players practising penalties a lot this week (AMA)

Ultimately, though, Nuno wants his side to start the third-round replay sharply.

Wolves have conceded first in their last six league games – 15 of 22 in the Premier League too – so he would love to see them take the lead against United.

Nuno’s charges have also accrued more points from losing positions (15) than anyone else in the top flight, but he said ahead of the Cup clash: “I take it as a negative. We should try to score first.

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“This is the way we want to compete. It’s better for us. I’m aware, everybody is aware, so let’s try to do it (against United) – manage the game better.”

Nuno confirmed the squad will be the same as the one at weekend. Diogo Jota (calf) and Willy Boly (ankle) are making good progress with their recoveries, but they are still a couple of weeks away.

“All the games, all the competitions, are important. We don’t change our approach. It’s always the same,” said Nuno on what will be Wolves’ 38th game of the term.

“We are always ready to compete and play. This is what we are made of. We’re a squad that loves to compete, loves to play.

“Any chance we have, we must enjoy it and embrace it. We’re always 100 per cent motivated.”

Off the pitch, Wolves have come 25th in the Deloitte Money League, with revenue reported to be £195.5million.

United are the top English club, with earnings of £627.1m, and when asked if Wolves could reach that level one day, Nuno added: “Our ambitions are measured by how we compete.

“It’s about how we do things. where we have come from and how we want to proceed, not to gain one billion pounds and become the biggest club in the world. That means nothing to us.

“Regarding that, you should talk to the chairman. My ambition is to prepare the team well.”

If Wolves win, they will have to wait to find out their fourth-round opponents as Tranmere’s replay against Watford was postponed last night because of heavy rain.

Wolves likely XI: Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Kilman; Otto, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Vinagre; Traore, Jimenez, Neto

Joe Edwards

By Joe Edwards
Multi-Media Sports Journalist - @JoeEdwards_Star

Wolves fan turned Wolves correspondent for the Express & Star.

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