Nuno Espírito Santo says Wolves can be proud as he laments small margins

Nuno Espírito Santo says Wolves can be proud as he laments small margins

Nuno Espírito Santo said it was frustrating to concede so late in the game but admitted his side had made mistakes at crucial moments in going out of the Europa League to Sevilla.

“It has happened to many times already, we need to keep our focus at set pieces,” the Wolves manager said. “We can be proud of ourselves though, we played a tough team and we had our moments against them. In the end small margins counted against us.”

Nuno was not referring to the uncharacteristic penalty hesitation from Raúl Jiménez or the controversy over minor infringements that surrounded it, for by that stage he had not seen any replays of the incident. Wolves supporters felt that Yassine Bounou was marginally off his line when he saved Jiménez’s unconvincing shot, but more importantly television replays revealed that Diego Carlos, who cleared the ball before Jiménez could reach the rebound, had encroached into the penalty area before the spot kick had been struck. “I didn’t see the images, but if that is the case you would expect VAR to have intervened,” Nuno said.

There was no such respite for Wolves, possibly because the remote officials were concentrating on a much more fractional line decision involving the goalkeeper. “We can’t do anything about it now,” Nuno said. “It’s just one more detail to consider.”

The Wolves captain, Conor Coady, said no blame ought to attach to Jiménez for missing the penalty. “We shouldn’t be pointing at him, he’s done more than enough for us this season,” the defender said. “We shouldn’t have conceded, that’s all. We fell for a sucker punch in the 88th minute. We’re all gutted because there won’t be any European games next season, even though we finished with more points than last time, but that’s football.”

His manager took the longer view. “We are here because we have had two really good seasons,” Nuno said. “The Premier League is challenging enough but we are in Europe because we want to improve. I think everyone back in Wolverhampton has enjoyed the journey, and though we are down at the moment the future is still bright.”

On potential movement in the transfer market, he added: “Let’s look at what we need. The club has been amazing. We started in Championship, first season was hard, second season, and we’re all together in this. It’s about making good decisions which can help us and stop us making mistakes.”