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Coronavirus makes this the toughest season to date for Nuno Espirito Santo

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Fulham – Premier League – Molineux
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo admits this season is the toughest of his managerial career due to coronavirus.

Wanderers resume their Premier League campaign on Monday against Leeds at Elland Road after what Nuno has called an “absurd” international break.

Nuno is hoping his Portuguese players have returned from international duty free of coronavirus. Goalkeeper Rui Patricio, full-back
Nelson Semedo, midfielders Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho and forward Daniel Podence have all been away with Portugal, for whom Cristiano Ronaldo this week tested positive for Covid-19.

“It has got more challenging because of the disruption of preparation due to the international games,” said Nuno.

“So, all of these things together, it’s a big challenge for us. It’s a big challenge for everybody.

“The load on the players, the short period, everything – plus the tough and hard opponents we have in front of us every week, competing in the Premier League.

“I would say, yes, it’s definitely the toughest season that we have had. You just follow the normal routines and expect things to be OK, so they don’t affect your decisions.

“But even the protocol is not totally clear. It says you have to have 14 players available – but that 14 includes all the players that have professional contracts with the club.

“We could be talking about under-23s, under-18s, so that says, no matter what happens, you will always play. Clearly, teams will have to play with players that were not the first thoughts of the manager.”

Wolves could be boosted by the return of Marcal against Leeds. The Brazilian full-back has missed Wanderers’ last two matches due to a calf injury but the international break has given him time to recover.