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Wolves eye Rui Faria as potential Nuno Santo successor

As another season draws to a close, yet more speculation surrounds Wolves manager Nuno Santo.

The Portuguese ace has been linked with Arsenal in the past but is now viewed as one of the successors to Jose Mourinho at Tottenham.

What’s the word?

According to The Daily Mail, Wolves have begun drawing up contingency plans should Nuno leave Molineux in the not too distant future.

They are busy identifying candidates and are preparing for the possibility of soldiering on without their long-serving head coach.

Nuno has been in the Wolves dug-out since 2017 but with interest emerging from elsewhere once more, they have drawn up a couple of names already.

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The report states that one option is former Porto boss Vitor Pereira while ex-Benfica manager Bruno Lage is also in the mix.

Rui Faria, once assistant manager to Mourinho, is in the frame too.

Faria can fix a big problem

One of the largest issues at play in Wolves’ season has been a number of colossal injury blows.

Jonny missed a large portion at the start of the campaign with an ACL injury while the Spaniard is now undergoing rehab on the same issue that will keep him out for the best part of a year.

Pedro Neto is also due to miss the next six months with a broken knee cap, joining Raul Jimenez on the sidelines. The Mexican hasn’t been seen since November when he fractured his skull.

There have also been injuries to Marcal; a player who missed several weeks with a groin problem and Daniel Podence. He has had three separate issues with his shoulder, thigh and abductor muscle.

Nuno has preferred to opt with a small squad and in recent years, it’s served him well. They’ve not suffered many fitness issues but clearly, that’s come back to bite them in 2020/21. Wolves sit in the bottom half of the table and could now lose their manager too.

However, by appointing someone like Faria, it could be highly beneficial for the health of the Old Gold squad.

That’s because the 45-year-old’s background is as a fitness coach. When Mourinho was given his first job in management at Leiria in 2001, Faria was quickly appointed as the Portuguese’s fitness manager and analyst.

It was at Porto where his knowledge really paid off. He won the Champions League as Mourinho’s assistant and the Special One owed his companion a lot of thanks.

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Faria had a crucial role to play with Porto applying a high-pressure line that relied on strong athletes. Detailed training reports were published on the club’s website at a similar time which included details of their exercise philosophies and how each method was important to how the side plays.

Faria became one of Mourinho’s most loved disciples. He followed him to Chelsea, to Inter Milan, to Real Madrid and finally Manchester United as his assistant.

When the coach finally went off in search of his own managerial gig, Mourinho said: “Training, playing, travelling, studying, laughing and also a few tears of happiness. 17 years and the kid is now a man. The intelligent student is now a football expert, ready for a successful career as a manager.”

Speaking in 2015, Mourinho claimed there were a lot of similarities between the two: “But if one day I have to choose my successor, if you want to use that, the one that I really feel thinks like me, is adapted to my way of lead, he’s adapted to my way of coaching, he’s the one with more similarities with me even in some traces of personality, is my assistant, Rui Faria.”

He had one spell with Al-Duhail in Qatar but is now out of management. Though, judging by his expertise when it comes to fitness and physical education, he could be crucial in developing training methods that don’t cripple the body.

For Wolves’ small squad, this has the potential to be game-changing.

AND in other news, Imagine him & Neves: Wolves must sign £30m “weapon” this summer, he’s Nuno’s dream…

Article title: Wolves eye Rui Faria as potential Nuno Santo successor

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