Why Nuno Santo deserves the PL manager of the season award

After winning their respective league last season and being automatically promoted to the Premier League, Nuno Santo’s Wolves were largely considered one of the best sides ever to grace the Championship.

Missing out on triple figures by a fraction, Wolves cruised to the title with 99 points, nine more than their closest challengers, Cardiff.

Many people understood that Wolves would be comfortably safe from the drop in their first season back in the top flight, but Nuno set his sights far beyond survival.

Splashing the cash

One common error seen in a number of newly promoted teams is their inability to heavily spend and strengthen their squad for the new season. The gulf between a Championship and Premier League side is huge and when unforeseen injuries occur, squad depth is tested.

In the transfer window last summer, Wolves spent around 60 million pounds (Sky Sports), ranked 10th in the league and second highest of the newly promoted clubs.

However, it wasn’t the amount of money spent by Wolves which impressive, it was the calibre of players they were signing. Some of the most impressive transfers included:

Adama Traoré, £17,000,000 from Middlesbrough.
Rui Patrício, free transfer from Sporting.
Diogo Jota, loan deal from Atlético Madrid.
João Moutinho, £5,000,000 from Monaco.

These additions gave Wolves fans real promise going into the new season, growing their confidence in the club’s ability to sustain premier league status for at least another year.

Results against the ‘Big 6’

One statistic that has set Wolves aside from the rest this season is their ability to step up and match the quality of those challenging for the title.

In their 10 games against the top six premier league clubs so far, Wolves have taken 13 points out of a possible 30!

The wanderers haven’t only had success against the big clubs in the league, they have also knocked out Liverpool and Manchester United in the FA Cup on their way to a Semi-final.

Following last night’s 2-1 league victory to Manchester United, Nuno Santo was quick to praise his team for “how they react to the first goal”. Despite this, Nuno wasn’t allowing himself or the players to get carried away, especially with an FA Cup semi-final on the horizon.

“The preparation starts now for the semi-final – we will rest and prepare for a difficult game. A fantastic challenge for us”.

These high-level results have helped Wolves to 7th in the league with six games remaining despite other clubs hot on their heels.

Chance of silverware?

Wolves next take on Watford at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. If they make it past the Hornets, it will be their 9th time playing in an FA Cup final, their first since 1960.

In the alternate semi-final, English champions Manchester City take on Brighton. Being all but certain that either Watford or Wolves will face City in May, it will be the toughest of finals for Nuno’s men if they make it there.

After winning a league title under Nuno last season, Wolves will be eager to kick on and bring more joy back to the people of the Molineux.

With City going for the quadruple, could Wolves be the ones to spoil the party?

Matt Butterworth.

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