Nuno: Wolves 'not prepared' to make five substitutions
Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has stated that making five substitutions in line with new Premier League rules is something Wolves ‘are not prepared to do’.
While accepting that some of the league’s big squads can ‘take advantage’ of making more changes, the Wolves chief insisted his pack was not assembled to handle five subs, writes Lewis Cox.
Wolves welcome Everton tomorrow looking to get back on track after back-to-back defeats saw them lose ground in the race for European qualification.
Nuno made just one change, Leander Dendoncker for Adama Traore with 10 minutes remaining, in Wednesday’s last-gasp defeat at Sheffield United, with Daniel Podence, Ruben Vinagre and Leonardo Campana all not selected to make an impact from the bench.
And the Wolves boss, who has Traore (shoulder) among other injury ‘issues’ ahead of the Toffees visit, hopes rule changes including substitutions and drinks breaks return to normal soon.
He said: “I don’t know what is going to happen in the future but these are not the rules that we prepared for.
“The rule has changed, it’s there for everyone to see, there are squads that can take advantage of the situation now but I hope it’s not going to stick forever.
“We hope that football returns to normal, three subs that we’ve always had, without water breaks, all these things introduced now.
“For us it is honestly something we’re not prepared to do because we didn’t build our process to focus on five subs.”
There is suggestion that top flight bosses may keep the five substitute rule in place for next season.
Sixth-placed Wolves have been boosted by Pedro Neto’s return to training after the attacker missed the trip to Bramall Lane with a knock.
Nuno feels that, while the manner of the late Blades setback was tough to take, it can be a valuable learning curve.
He added: “There was concentration missing. The players realise we are becoming a mature group, the squad know each other so well.
“It was clear in the last corner of the game we have to be focused and solve the situation to finish the game in a proper way.
“It was not nice but the players have reacted well. We are aware of what we didn’t do so well. Learning from a mistake is the best way to improve.”
Everton are an outside shot at making a late charge for a European spot next season.
They have improved under the experience and organisation of Carlo Ancelotti, who succeeded Marco Silva last December.
The Toffees, who sit 11th, have been solid since the restart, losing just one – via an unfortunate own goal last week against Spurs – of their five games.
They have won twice and drawn twice, most recently a point against Southampton on Thursday. But the Saints dominated for large parts at Goodison and denied Ancelotti’s men the opportunity of closing the gap on Burnley, Tottenham and Arsenal above them.
Brazilian forward Richarlison struck a brace, including the winner, to down Wolves on Merseyside last September, on a day the visitors had Willy Boly dismissed late on.
Richarlison, who has scored four goals in three games against Wolves, has netted 14 goals in 37 appearances this season, this week becoming just the fifth Brazilian to score 30 Premier League goals.
But Nuno is at pains to focus solely on the Everton top scorer.
“It’s difficult to defend against Everton because they have so much talent, we focus on all the aspects of Everton teams, not only Richarlison,” added the head coach. “Our approach is based on Everton as a team.”