Nuno Espirito Santo

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‘I’m very happy for this’: Jimenez becomes Wolves all-time leading PL goalscorer

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Raul Jimenez has carved his name in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ history books.

“I want to say thank you to all my teammates, to the staff, to the coach, because without all of them, I can’t achieve this goal,” Jimenez said following Wolves’ come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Southampton on Saturday.

Just minutes earlier, in front of a fervent stand of Wolves supporters at St. Mary’s Stadium, Jimenez scored his 23rd Premier League goal for Midlands side, becoming the club’s all-time leading scorer in the Premier League era. The Mexican surpasses Steven Fletcher‘s record of 22 goals, which stood since 2012.

“I’m very happy for this, and I want to keep scoring,” he added.

With Wolves disputing Europa League qualifying matches in August, the 28-year-old began to build early on what is now a monstrous campaign – 19 goals and 9 assist in throughout all competitions. Half a year down the road, there are no signs of Jimenez’s magic running out. In fact, his brace against the Saints is clearest indicator of why that’s the case.

With his divine hold up play, well-calculated pressing and hunger for redemption, Jimenez emotionally inspired Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side comeback. And in the 65th minute, his trademark penalty overturned a two-goal deficit, turning emotional to physical inspiration.

“[Coming back] was very important for us after a very bad first half,” he told Wolves reporters following the match.

Jimenez was full of praise for his team’s collective grit. He lauded his team’s “fantastic” second half – full of pressing and chances created. The tactic alterations implemented by Nuno Espirito Santo influenced Adama Traore’s run that led to Jimenez’s third and winning goal.

“In the end, we know that it depends on us – what we want to do, what we want to achieve. So, we need to keep going until the last minute. Keep trying to score, keep going with our football that makes us Wolves.”

We now know that Jimenez is Wolves’ all-time Premier League goalscorer, too.

‘Anything can happen’: Nuno, Solskjaer respond to Jimenez’s links with Man United

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Shortly after Wolves and Manchester United scoreless draw in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday, Nuno Espirito Santo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer addressed the rumors involving Wanderers’ marquee striker Raul Jimenez and Manchester United.

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Just before the first whistle, reports surfaced linking the 28-year-old striker to the Red Devils, who recently missed out on landing their reported top target Erling Braut Haaland, who instead signed for Borussia Dortmund.

The transfer links were news to the Portuguese manager, who all but confirmed that Jimenez is for sale.

“It’s the first-time I heard it,” he said. “Ole didn’t mention anything about that. But the transfer window is open. When it is open, anything can happen. [But] we are delighted to have Raul.”

Jimenez took the field in the second half at Molineux Stadium against Manchester United but failed to widen his goal count which stands at 17 this season.

Last year, Jimenez was named Wolves’ Player of the Season after recording 17 goals and eight assists, aiding them to their first European competition in 40 years. This season, the Club America product has matched last year’s goal count and has nine assists to go with it, proving that he’s indispensable for the Premier League outfit.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils have yet to replace Romelu Lukaku – a forward with a similar profile to Jimenez’s – since his departure to Inter Milan on transfer deadline day in August. Solskjaer and company are looking to bolster their attack that currently features the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

Solskjaer, too, was asked about Jimenez’s probabilities of arriving at Old Trafford, but the Norwegian’s tone was equivocal, claiming that many great players are linked to his club.

“[He’s] another good player we’ve been linked with,” he said. “He came on and did well [but] I cannot comment on these situations.”

In July, Jimenez signed with Wolves from Benfica for a club-record $43 million.

Guardiola: ‘It is not realistic to think about the title race’

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It’s late December, and Manchester City are trailing top-of-the-table Liverpool by 14 points after Pep Guardiola side’s late collapse fueled Wolverhampton Wanderers’ 3-2 comeback on Friday.

[ MORE: Three things we learned: Wolves 3-2 Manchester City ]

This is far from what anyone associated with the defending champions expected by this time of year, but as the Spaniard boss says, it has been his team’s new reality for some time now – chasing Liverpool (Leicester City) for the top position in the league. To the BBC and Amazon Prime:

“It is big for a long time,” Guardiola said after his side’s second, league loss of December. “It is not realistic to think about the title race. I have been asked the question for a long time and it is the same answer.”

As expected, 10-man City were outmatched in virtually every match stat on Friday, losing possession by more than 20 percent. Raheem Sterling put the visitor’s up by two goals in the 50th minute, but a late surge from Wolves – fueled by Raul Jimenez, Adama Traore and Nuno Espirito Santo‘s substitutions – buckled the defending champions.

Guardiola recognizes that such crumble was due to having one less player on the field, but that his staff and his player’s can’t dwell too much on the loss or the fact that they’re 14 points behind the Reds.

“Eighty minutes 10 against 11 is so tough, so demanding. We could not defend the result. We have to think of the next game and about winning our games. It’s unrealistic to think about that [catching Liverpool]. In 48 hours we have another game.”

Similar to the initial tone of Guardiola, Bernardo Silva admitted that a once-in-a-lifetime comeback to win the title is going to be “very difficult” for the back-to-back champions to pull off.

“It is a really bad situation for us. A frustrating first half of the season. Nobody expected us to be this far away from Liverpool at this halfway point. We have to continue now. We know that winning the title is very complicated. I wouldn’t say impossible but very difficult.”

Just like Guardiola says that it’s unrealistic for City to dream about winning the title, it might be unrealistic to think that Liverpool aren’t going to win it all.

Late second-half surge powers Wolves past Man City

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Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez, and Matt Doherty scored second-half goals as Wolverhampton Wanderers edged Manchester City 3-2 at Molineux Stadium, sending Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolves to fifth on the table.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Despite going down 2-0 in the 50th minute, an inspired Wolves side managed to rally a comeback against a 10-man City with Traore and Jimenez each contributing a goal and assist.

With the win Wolves move on to 30 points, while City stay on 38 points – 14 points behind league leaders Liverpool.

Espirito Santo’s Wolves are only the second team to win both league bouts against Pep Guardiola‘s City – the first dates back to their 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium on Oct. 6.

3 things we learned

1. Nuno Espirito Santo’s second-half substitutions were spot on: Both of Wolves’ last two goals came after the Portuguese manager restructured the left side of the field. Between the the 73rd and 79th minute, Diogo Jota and Jonny Castro left the field for Ruben Vinagre and Pedro Neto. Shortly after the changes were made, the home side’s attack was oozing with confidence, dominating possession and arriving at City’s goal from all angles. Eventually, Jimenez, Traore, and Doherty were able to find space within the new-look attack and contribute to game’s final score.

2. Manchester City’s December has been substandard: December has been an unusually poor month for Manchester City. Following the defeat, Guardiola’s side has now dropped six points – the other three against Manchester United. With Liverpool up 14 points, this is a stab on City’s chances of a three peat. 

3. Jimenez-Traore duo is paying dividends and more: Each attacker scored and assisted once on Friday against City. In there 2-0 victory over the defending champions in October, both were just as influential. With the January transfer window around the corner, the objective will probably be maintaining both players and building around them.

Man of the Match: Adama Traore –  With a goal and an assist, Traore was the heartbeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday night.


The first half was filled with plenty of drama, with Ederson being issued a red card and Raheem Sterling converting from the spot on his second attempt after an encroachment call from VAR.

Even though City were playing with 10 men, the visitor’s started the second half with poise and confidence, controlling the match’s possession and tempo.

In the 50th minute, Sterling’s delicate chip over Rui Patricio – his second goal of the match – all but sealed three points for the defending champions.

What should havre been a low-blow for Wolves turned out to be additional motivation to go for the unlikely win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the 54th minute, Traore’s low-driven, sizzling shot unearthed the “there is a chance” attitude that one could sense in every Wolves player and supporter inside the stadium.

With the clock counting down the final 10 minutes of regular time and the hosts knocking on City’s doors, Jimenez converted his 21st goal of the season, finishing Traore’s recovery and hustle inside the opponent’s box.

Matt Doherty sealed the comeback for Wolves, finishing his solo run with a close-range strike inside the box.

Santo slams ‘absurd’ Premier League holiday fixture schedule

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Every year, it seems that there’s another Premier League coach distressed by the lack of recovery time during the holiday fixture list, with Great Britain’s insistence on playing matches at a time when the rest of mainland Europe takes a break.

This year, that coach is Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

[READ: American investment group unlikely to complete purchase of Newcastle]

Speaking ahead of his side’s match against defending champion Manchester City, Santo decried the way the fixtures were set up, which he feels – and he may have a point – puts Wolves at a disadvantage.

“All the teams have strong cases [to complain to the Premier League], but of all the schedule, we are the team that has less hours in this period – 45 hours between two games and 112 hours between the three games until New Year’s Day,” Santo said. “It’s going to be very tough, I think all of the managers are concerned and rightly so. I’m particularly concerned because I’ve been saying this; the schedule doesn’t make sense, it’s absurd. For all the teams.

“Of course, there are teams that have three days [between matches], but I don’t know what the particular reason why it’s us as Wolves who have less hours, but it’s a concern for all the managers and for all the players. We have to survive. We have to survive. Let’s see what happens. We will train tomorrow, then we prepare to play Man City, and we’ll see. Let’s try and survive.”

Matches over the festive period appears to be one of the last mainstays that connects English soccer’s present to its past, with global television audiences having dictated plenty of other changes, both to match days, match times, and uniforms. But while the rest of the major soccer powers take a rest during this time, England goes even more full throttle, packing in three matches between Boxing Day and New Years Day for some teams.

However, you can see why it’s a nightmare for coaches in England. Wolves, for example, faces Man City on Friday afternoon (U.S. time), Liverpool on Sunday morning, and then Watford on New Years Day. Especially for a team like Wolves which doesn’t necessarily have the depth that the big clubs have, it may mean Santo will have to sacrifice a match or two to make sure they pick up all three points when needed, as well as avoid injuries.

With coaches in the past hoping for a winter break, the Premier League has come up with a compromise: Every team will get a weekend off in February. That comes as a small consolation to coaches who may lose a player to a muscle strain now and have them out until February, but if teams can at least make it in one piece to February, they’ll get a little bit of time to rest, recover, and gear up for a final run before the season ends.