Wolves are expecting big things… and after Diogo Jota’s double against Norwich, manager Nuno Espirito Santo can begin to think big too
- Wolves’ Diogo Jota is emerging as one of the most lethal strikers in the country
- The signs are only positive for Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and his men
- Nuno has never once complained about the fixture glut confronting his side
He was on the field for just 63 minutes, but in that time Diogo Jota showed once again why he is emerging as one of the most lethal strikers in the country, as Wolves gathered further momentum and Norwich endured more misery.
For manager Nuno Espirito Santo and his men, the signs are only positive. For Norwich manager Daniel Farke and his players, the Championship beckons.
Jota did their prospects of Premier League survival no good at all. Last Thursday, he destroyed Espanyol in the Europa League with a hat trick in a 4-0 win that should ensure a place for Wolves in the last 16 of that competition.
Diogo Jota showed why he is emerging as one of the most lethal strikers in the country
He scored two more on Sunday and played a significant part in the third as Norwich were left stranded at the foot of the table on 18 points, and six points adrift of the Premier League’s 19th team. Their only consolation from a miserable afternoon was that Watford, in 19th, themselves lost at Old Trafford.
No ground lost in the relegation dogfight, but that was as good as it got. This was a cameo of Norwich’s season. Easy to watch, Farke encourages attacking football, but yet again they had nothing to show for it. It is points that count, not plaudits.
And Nuno’s Wolves side are not exactly negative. Hard to be that with the likes of Jota, Ruben Neves and Jonny in the line-up, and Adama Traore to summon from the bench. They now sit two points off fifth, which could be good enough for Champions League football.
With Jota in the ranks the expectations are growing. He is the man of the moment. At 23, the best is yet to come. And at £12million, the Mexican looks the definitive bargain buy after coming to Molineux from Atletico Madrid.
For Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and his men, the signs are only positive right now
He has had his lean spells but as Nuno said: ‘He has never lost his confidence. And of course, I was delighted with his goals.
‘We know a player’s performance can go up and down. It is the right decisions, the right solutions we try to find to keep sustaining his performance.’
Jota scored the first in the 19th minute from just inside the penalty area with a pass that came courtesy of the midriff of Matt Doherty.
On the half-hour, Romain Saiss returned a cross into the six-yard box and there was Jota.
A man who can score from 20 yards is not going to miss from one yard. And in the 50th minute, Jota’s work was complete. His crisp shot beat Tim Krul in the Norwich goal, but not the upright.
Raul Jimenez netted Wolves’ third following Jota’s double to seal the win against Norwich
As the ball rebounded, there was Raul Jimenez with a simple chance. Game over.
‘Norwich started well but I thought we managed the game well after that,’ said Nuno, who explained that he was equally pleased with his team’s fourth clean sheet in a row.
‘Everything starts from there,’ he said. ‘They did not have many chances.’
The Wolves manager has never complained about the fixture glut confronting his team, in a season that started for them last July with the Europa League qualifying rounds. Yesterday was match No 44. Last season Wolves played 46 in total.
How do his players do it ? ‘The way they recover, the way they respect themselves.’
The Wolves manager has never complained about the fixture glut confronting his team
The manager and his staff at Wolves don’t do days off. ‘It is our job and we embrace the challenge.’
Farke had no issue with the attitude of his players. And he remains positive about the hurdles ahead. ‘The story of our season? I am far away from closing the book this season,’ he said with a hint of defiance.
‘But we lacked physicality today. This was an opportunity for us today, a big opportunity. But you have to sense this is a big chance. But sometimes we were a bit soft and a bit scared.’
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