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‘I’m very worried’ – Wolves boss Nuno reveals concerns over international break

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

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo hit out at the international schedule and admitted he feared for his players’ safety.

The manager was unhappy ahead of the international break, despite Pedro Neto’s first goal of the season sealing a 1-0 win over Fulham on Sunday.

Wolves lacked their usual relentless rhythm but had enough to see off a Fulham side still waiting for their first point of the season.

They now have 16 players going on international duty, including captain Conor Coady linking up with England, and Nuno is concerned about the impact that will have amid the coronavirus pandemic and a hectic start to the season.

He said: “Of course I’m worried, a lot. I’m very worried.

“First, because we’re always worried when they go, players are there but you don’t have the authority to determine anything. Then there’s the pandemic situation.

“I’m not the only manager speaking about this. Afterwards we have to test and then there’s a question mark with the results of the tests. Sometimes it’s only hours away from the game.

“The schedule of the national team was not the right one. We are even concerned with the protocols the players are going to have.

“They are going to a different environment. When players go to national teams with two or three days of preparation they have to play.

“We are starting the season but we have disruption again, they stay for 10 days, some playing friendlies and we don’t know how they are going to return.

“You can see everyone in football is struggling to assess and decide.”

Hard-working Fulham remain bottom of the Premier League, having lost their opening four games.

They had their chances, though, and Aboubakar Kamara should have made it 1-1 with 18 minutes left.

Ademola Lookman’s skill and persistence found Aleksandar Mitrovic to unselfishly square, but Kamara tamely shot straight at Rui Patricio.

It came after Neto’s 56th-minute opener when he drilled into the bottom corner after Antonee Robinson had blocked Leander Dendoncker’s drive.

Defeat for Fulham came despite an improved performance and boss Scott Parker focused on the positives.

“Overall I’m pleased with the performance and disappointed we couldn’t turn it into the win,” he said. “The way we set up we looked solid. We showed our identity, we had a massive chance which needs to go in and then it would be a fair result.

“With the goal they scored, we got a couple of blocks in and it goes through three players, so it’s fine margins at the moment. This is a team who are learning and developing and working tirelessly.

“They are trying to improve and analyse when mistakes are made and we have seen a vast improvement today.

“Every day, week and training session for us is massive because we need to improve. We need to develop as a team and eradicate the mistakes.

“The players are constantly learning, how quickly we learn from mistakes will dictate how successful we are.”

Wolves later announced the loan signing of Rayan Ait-Nouri from Ligue 1 outfit Angers until the end of the season.

The 19-year-old has made 23 appearances for the French side since breaking through the club’s academy and will look to challenge Ruben Vinagre and Marcal for the starting left wing-back position.