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Nuno Espirito Santo refuses to discuss ‘disrespectful’ Arsenal link

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo refused to discuss any links to Arsenal and insisted it would be disrespectful to Unai Emery.

The 45-year-old has been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to replace under-pressure Gunners manager Emery at the Emirates Stadium.

Nuno has taken Wolves from the Sky Bet Championship to the Europa League since being appointed in May 2017.

Wolves sit fifth in the Premier League, a point ahead of Arsenal, and have lost once in their last 13 games in all competitions.

Emery’s position at Arsenal has come under increased scrutiny following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton, which left them eighth in the Premier League, but Nuno would not be drawn on the speculation.

“You know me well enough and you know I’m not going to answer that,” he said, ahead of Thursday’s Europa League match in Braga.

“I wouldn’t ever mention an issue which is not a reality, mainly as speaking about a job which has a manager would be disrespectful and I will not do so.

“We are doing OK, there is a lot of room to improve, it requires a lot of work but this is what we have been doing since day one when we started in the Championship.

“There are no distractions at all. I don’t talk about possibilities, I don’t talk about things which are not real, what is real is that we are here, we have to train and prepare ourselves.”

Goalkeeper Rui Patricio also believes it is vital Wolves hang on to Nuno if they want to fulfil their ambitions.

The Portugal international said: “It’s very important to keep Nuno at the club, not only for the players but for the club as well. We have ambitions in this competition.

“Stability is needed in any club, without a shadow of a doubt, in order for the club to develop and become greater.

“It’s not just about the coach. You need a good staff at the club. Nuno is an outstanding coach and also a leader, and we need him to keep developing, not only the staff but the players as well.”

Wolves are a point behind Group K leaders Braga and a draw would take both teams into the final 32.

“The approach is always the same,” added Nuno. “Compete well, pay attention to all the details we have. We know we are going to face a good manager with good players.”

Ryan Bennett (groin), Morgan Gibbs-White (back) and Willy Boly (fractured leg) have not travelled to Portugal.