We give the lowdown on new Wolves boss…Nuno Espirito Santo
He may be largely unknown on these shores, but new Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo has taken a fascinating route to reach Molineux.
And there’s reason to believe his experiences on the pitch and track record in the dugout both bode well for fans of the Black Country outfit…
A goalkeeper as a player, the Portuguese began his career with homeland club Vitoria de Guimaraes in 1992, though it was after leaving Os Conquistadores in 1996 that the stopper played under a pair of talented and highly-respected coaches.
Firstly, he played under Javier Irureta at Deportivo La Coruna, with the experienced boss leading the club to a La Liga title in a Leicester City-esque shock.
From Depor, Nuno headed to Porto, and though once again he was second-choice keeper, he was under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho.
Interestingly, you can see the influence of both bosses in Santo’s management style so far – first at Rio Ave, before stints at Valencia and, most recently, Porto.
In his two seasons at Rio Ave (2012-14), Nuno did a sensational job with his underdog side, taking them to the Final of both the Taca de Portugal and Taca de Liga in his second campaign, with the club.
The last time they’d reached a major final before that? 1984.
Against the league’s big guns, they had a record Irureta would have been proud of. The underdogs beat Sporting Lisbon in all three of their meetings in 2012-13, before knocking Braga out of both cups in the following campaign.
Bigger things inevitably beckoned, taking the up-and-coming gaffer to La Liga outfit Valencia.
With Los Che having finished eighth in the previous season, the Portuguese boss got the club a top-five finish in his only full season in Spain, adding a number of savvy additions to the squad – including now-Arsenal ace Shkodran Mustafi.
In 2016, he returned to Porto – this time as gaffer – and employed a tactical approach similar to the one we saw from Mourinho during his epoch at Estadio do Dragao.
His disciplined side were incredibly solid in defence, giving up just 19 goals in 34 league games, just missing out on the title to a top-rate Benfica.
Wolves may not be huge underdogs in the Championship, but there are better squads in that division.
But with a Head Coach who’s achieved success against the odds and has a tried-and-tested ethos, he’s likely to provide a drastic improvement on last season’s mediocre finish…even if the football won’t always be beautiful.
Could he be the man to bring Wolves back to the Premier League? We wouldn’t bet against it.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing