Amidst all the spotlight being focused on Adama Traore – Jurgen Klopp even called him “unplayable” – it is easy to forget that Nuno Espirito Santo has also worked his magic on another one of Wolves’ players: Romain Saiss.
The Moroccan was a holding midfielder by trade for virtually his entire career, playing in that position 182 times as per Transfermarkt. But under the management of the Molineux side’s Portuguese boss, he has developed into an assured centre-back, who has established himself as a key part of the first-team.
This campaign has seen him play 37 times across all competitions already, with 25 of them coming at the heart of the Wolves defence – out of his last 14 appearances in the Premier League, only one has come in his more ‘natural’ anchor man role.
And against Tottenham on Sunday afternoon, the £4.5m-rated man proved yet again the wonders Nuno has managed. As per Sofascore, he won 13 of his 19 total duels, made a mammoth eight clearances, blocked two shots, and made three interceptions (the first three of those stats being a team-high).
It was an imperious display from the 29-year-old, and a real testament to Nuno’s work. Coaching someone into changing their position is usually far easier when they are young and still learning their trade. But just like Adama, the Wolves boss has helped transform someone who had already established what his so-called best position is.
Quite rightly, Nuno has been hailed by numerous people for his work with Adama. Jamie Redknapp remarked that the Portuguese man “deserves great credit for this transformation”, and that whilst before the winger was just a raw talent, he has finally got a good coach “who could put his weaponry to proper use”.
Nuno deserves similar praise for his work in masterminding a late renaissance of Saiss, and yet more evidence of just how good of a manager he is.