Nuno proud of Wolves spirit after fighting point

Proud boss Nuno Espirito Santo saluted Wolves’ spirit after they fought back to claim a point against Southampton.

Nuno Espirito Santo the head coach / manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Referee Andre Marriner at full time (AMA)
Nuno Espirito Santo the head coach / manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Referee Andre Marriner at full time (AMA)

Pedro Neto scored five minutes after coming off the bench to earn Wolves a 1-1 draw in a match played against a background of coronavirus-related disruption.

Skipper Conor Coady missed a league fixture for the first time in three years after spending a fortnight in self-isolation, while Nuno was also without Romain Saiss after it emerged the defender had contracted the virus on international duty with Morocco.

Coady is expected to return to Compton Park today to begin preparations for Sunday’s trip to Arsenal, though Nuno - who was critical of the Covid-19 protocols - remains unsure over how long Saiss, who is now self-isolating, will be unavailable.

“For sure Conor (will be back),” he said. “Romain I don’t know how many days he has to self-isolate.

“It is too much time, the protocols after a player is positive like Conor with the England squad.

“He spent so many days in self-isolation after he returned two negative tests. Conor already had the virus. The protocols make it very hard for every team.

“It hasn’t been easy for anyone. We were fortunate enough to have more days than most after the international break.

“Even so it is still not enough time. Fortunately the international breaks are over now until March,

“But the spirit was good. Particularly after the last game it is always important to bounce back.”

Wolves, who played a back four for the first time in Nuno’s reign due to Coady’s absence, looked destined for defeat when Theo Walcott fired the Saints in front 13 minutes into the second half.

But Neto’s introduction with 20 minutes remaining saw the momentum shift spectacularly and once back level Wolves then went closest to grabbing a winner

“I thought it was a good game. A very intense game, high tempo from both teams,” continued Nuno.

“Southampton are a good team and in the first half they caused us problems, we didn’t get too many spells of possession.

“But I thought we finished the game very, very strongly. We were pressing and creating huge problems. We had good chances.”

Asked about the switch to four at the back, Nuno replied: “It’s the first time we did it and I thought we managed the situation well.

“We have played many games with the same lines and shape and the reaction was good, the adaptation was good.

“It requires character and belief and the boys did that and we were very proud of them.

“Conor was not with us, Saiss was not with us, and we decided we have players versatile enough to try it. We decided to prepare it and we went with it.

“We have a good foundation that allows us to grow and it’s up to us to improve the players so we can be inside the game, the competition, not so predictable and growing and improving the players.

“We have to deal with a lot, with so many things in the air, so it is important to be clear and have plans, we have to find solutions.”

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