Mel Eves: ‘Empty grounds won’t worry Wolves'

Former Wolves star Mel Eves reckons Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will have no problems adjusting to playing Premier League games behind-closed-doors.

Mel Eves
Mel Eves

The top-flight campaign is getting back under way in a couple of weeks, with Wolves due to restart with a trip to West Ham.

Grounds will be empty because of the coronavirus pandemic and while Nuno’s lot are used to playing in front of massive crowds, Eves – who scored 53 goals in 214 appearances for the club – said: “I think we will be OK.

“The understanding with the lads is first class. They’re that used to what they do, the way they play, the philosophy.

“With Nuno, since day one, it’s been 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 – everybody knows their jobs – and I think it’s just a matter of acclimatising back fitness-wise.

“They had that one game behind-closed-doors at Olympiacos, drawing 1-1 in the Europa League, and that was an excellent result which you would have taken all day long before the game.

“The Wolves lads will be fine as they’re excellent both home and away – they do not rely on the home support, although it is really helpful when Molineux is packed out.”

In preparation for what it will be like, though, Wolves are understood to be exploring the possibility of at least one friendly match against another team before the season resumes.

It has been reported that league chiefs have given clubs the green light to stage friendlies – as long as they meet certain conditions.

Strict instructions include players driving to games in their own cars, with coaches set to referee matches. Played at either stadiums or training grounds, clubs are said to be forbidden from travelling further than 90 minutes for a friendly.

Full risk-assessments will also have to be taken at any proposed friendly venues, too.

If they can tick all the boxes, Eves thinks they should play a warm-up match before the real thing restarts – and believes a friendly against fierce Black Country rivals Albion would work fine.

“It would be good to get a friendly in, maybe one against a Championship team,” he added.

“I even think the Baggies coming and playing Wolves in a friendly would work as everything is behind-closed-doors.

“You treat it exactly like pre-season, where you usually have friendlies – maybe even a game with three 30-minute periods as the first one.

“You ideally want to have a game against opposition that’s going to test you before the season restarts.”

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