Nuno Espirito Santo hailed for ‘fantastic’ impact as Wolves clinch promotion

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Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple hailed the influence of Nuno Espirito Santo after the club’s promotion to the Premier League was confirmed on Saturday night.

Fulham conceding an injury-time equaliser to draw 1-1 against Brentford meant that the third-placed Cottagers could no longer catch Wolves.

The Championship leaders have won 28 of their 42 league games so far this season to seal a return to the top flight after a six-season absence.

Fulham v Brentford – Sky Bet Championship – Craven Cottage
Neal Maupay’s goal for Brentford meant Wolves were promoted (Isabel Infantes/Empics)

The Portuguese has steered Wolves to promotion in his first season in charge and Wanderers have played some swash-buckling football at times, scoring some wonderful goals and the praise they have received has been richly deserved.

Dalrymple paid tribute to the impact made by Nuno, the boss who arrived last summer after a spell in charge of Porto.

He said: “What he’s brought in has been fantastic. He came in, he changed the playing style. We’ve recruited well and he’s galvanised the group really strongly in a very short space of time.

“And very, very quickly he had us playing a different style of football than we’d been accustomed to and a brand of football that was delivering results really quickly.”

Middlesbrough v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Sky Bet Championship – Riverside Stadium
Nuno Espirito Santo celebrates after the recent win at Middlesbrough (Richard Sellers/PA)

“I don’t really want to single people out particularly because it’s been a huge unified club effort from start to finish but there’s no doubt he’s been an incredibly important component in the whole thing and what he’s changed since he’s come in has been fantastic.”

Wolves players celebrated the moment they secured promotion. The players and staff gathered together at their team hotel in Wolverhampton ahead of their Championship clash with Birmingham at Molineux on Sunday to watch the Fulham game.

Wolves tweeted a video of the celebrations which featured the likes of Conor Coady, Matt Doherty, Benik Afobe and the rest of the squad.

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker also took to Twitter to congratulate Wolves on a “brilliant season” and to let them know he is looking forward to seeing them on the show next term.

Wolves’ attention will now turn to clinching the title, with Wanderers nine points ahead of second-placed Cardiff.

They can all-but do that in front of their own supporters against Birmingham. Victory would see Wolves open up a 12-point gap, with Cardiff having a significantly inferior goal difference and only four matches remaining.

The way Wolves have achieved promotion has drawn criticism, however. The midlands club have connections with super-agent Jorge Mendes and have spent heavily on recruiting talent such as Diogo Jota, Ruben Neves, Willy Boly and Ivan Cavaleiro.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani was particularly vocal in his grievances about their financial dealings following his club’s 3-0 home defeat to Wolves at Elland Road in March – and these have been looked at by the EFL.

After that game he tweeted: “We should play in a fair competition. Not legal and fair let one team owned by a fund whom has shares in the biggest players agency with evident benefits.”

Wolves have insisted they have not broken any rules and chairman Jeff Shi last month labelled rivals’ complaints “laughable”.

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