- Premier League
- EFL Championship
- Other Top Clubs
- Scout Reports
Nuno Espirito Santo has done an excellent job since taking over from the dour Paul Lambert at Wolverhampton Wanderers and has led his exciting squad to the top of the league.
Wolves are very strong favourites now to win the division and play Premier League football next season, but is the manager the main reason they are where they are currently?
Yes and no, I guess. True, his organisational skills have been a marked improvement on the previous management, with his 3-4-3 formation being a very tough one for opposing teams to break through, yet having plenty of attacking flair too.
An ideal combination then, but the system alone is nothing without enough good players to make it work.
Let’s face it; many a Championship coach would love to have been able to spend the money Santo had at his disposal. The Portuguese coach spent £16million on Ruben Neves and was able to offer excellent financial loan packages for Willy Boly, Leo Bonatini and Diogo Jota, who will all end up in the Premier League or La Liga one way or the other.
It’s a simplistic thing to say but frankly, Wolves are where they are because they’ve brought in the best players.
We mentioned on these pages a number of months ago that, despite good coaching too by Chris Wilder, Sheffield United’s sudden improvement in League One at the start of last season was down to an excellent summer of transfer business hugely improving their squad over the course of a summer.
I’ve also written in detail in the past about how lucky Alan Pardew was when Newcastle finished 5th back in 2012, despite winning the Coach of the Year title. The fact is, he had Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, eventual Premier League winner Danny Simpson, Fabricio Coloccini, Demba Ba and an in-form Papiss Cisse all at his disposal and crucially all staying fit.
When this was no longer the case, he struggled badly in management and has never reached that level again.
Likewise, Leicester City’s title-winning season; Huth, Schmeichel, Vardy, Mahrez, Drinkwater and Kante stayed fit for basically the entire season and had any two or three of them been injured for a long period, they simply would not have won that division, despite Claudio Ranieri’s talent.
In short then, Nuno Espirito Santo is a reason Wolves are topping the division, but not the reason.