Wolves boss Nuno hails his top man Joao Moutinho
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has piled praise on ‘natural competitor’ Joao Moutinho – having made the most appearances of any Premier League star this season.
The Portuguese is second for the whole of Europe, too, despite the fact he turns 34 in September.
He has played 55 times between club and country over the course of the campaign – 50 of those for Wolves – and is looking to add to that remarkable tally at Sheffield United.
And Nuno said on the feat: “It says a lot. We know that Joao is a top professional.
“He’s experienced, and he knows the importance of how to handle a very tight schedule of competition – what you have to do during that process.
“And Joao does it every day. It’s not only this season – he’s been that competitive throughout all his career.
“He’s a natural competitor. He loves the game, he loves to train, and he loves to compete.
“And he enjoys passing this knowledge on to his younger team-mates. It’s good for us.”
Moutinho’s is only behind Celtic’s Callum McGregor (56) when it comes to appearances across European football but is set to surpass him soon as the Scottish season was ended early.
The encounter at Bramall Lane starts a run of four games in 12 days for Nuno’s side, and the Wolves chief said: “It’s tough. It’s going to be very, very tough.
“It has already been tough, and nobody should forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic, so it’s not easy to deal with this.”
First and foremost is the clash with the Blades, which could have a significant effect on how Wolves’ season finishes.
United have earned plaudits up and down the country for how they have fared in their first season back in the top flight.
They have a unique style – with their centre-backs known to overlap the wing-backs – and Nuno added: “To keep doing it and get the best out of this dynamic is what they have been doing.
“It’s unbelievable. Their centre-backs get involved in attacking situations.
“I’ve seen it before, but they have been doing it well and making a success of it.
“It’s amazing. They do it so well. All the dynamics the Sheffield team has have been there for a while now.
“It’s been in League One, the Championship and the Premier League – and with the same group of players. It’s so remarkable.”