After joining the club from AS Monaco for a reported £5m in the summer of 2018, Joao Moutinho has proved himself to be an integral part of Wolves’ incredible rise over the past couple of seasons.
And speaking after Wolves’ victory over Bournemouth earlier this season, Nuno Espirito Santo lauded the central midfielder’s performance. He said: “Joao is an important player because he has the experience to know at each moment what the game requires.”
Against Manchester United on Saturday afternoon, he showed exactly that. The Red Devils may have been fancied to take all three points considering they were at home at Old Trafford. Instead, Moutinho helped dictate the tempo of the game, and ensured everything was played at Wolves’ pace.
As per Sofascore, he enjoyed the joint-most amount of touches for his side with 64, whilst his impressive 89% pass accuracy was only behind Conor Coady amongst the Molineux side’s starters. His cool and calm nature in possession meant Wolves never looked rushed, and he always picked out the perfect outlet pass on the counter-attack, spreading the ball out wide to the likes of Jonny and Matt Doherty whenever they charged forward.
His total of four key passes was double that of any other player on the pitch, whilst the only other player to create at least one big chance in the game, was United’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Moutinho’s six tackles was also twice as many as any Wolves star, and his three interceptions were only behind teammate Willy Boly’s total of five.
It was a dominant midfield display from the Portuguese veteran, and he helped ensure Wolves looked in control for the entire game. He never looked ruffled, and that confidence oozed into the rest of his team. His performance against United showed exactly why he still remains Nuno’s lynch-pin.