In depth Analysis: Nuno Espirito Santo

Nuno Herlander Simões Espírito Santo was born in São Tomé in 1974, during his professional career he played as a goalkeeper playing for clubs such as; Vitória, Deportivo, Porto and Dynamo Moscow. He spent quite a bit of time on the bench, this allowed him to gain knowledge and insight into the management side of the game. His main influencer and mentor was Jesualdo Ferreira, he followed him to Malaga and Panathinaikos as part of his technical staff. Nuno speaks of him in very high regard once saying;

“With him I understood that it isn’t just about the relationship between eleven players but, about triangle connections both in defence and attack. Everything in the game is based on triangles and how positionally balanced they are”.

Nuno doesn’t have a set tactic but keeps basic principles that he uses at each club. He does however change and adapt his tactics to suit the players he has. For example, at Rio Ave, he led the team to its first Europa League campaign and to two cup finals the following season. He did this by using a counter-attacking style that benefited the fast wingers that he had at his disposal, he also had a young Jan Oblak in goal.

At Wolves Nuno has created a style of fast, quick passing football, developing a 3-4-3 system that is similar to what he used at Valencia with a central defender playing the ball out to wing-backs. The striker is also the main outlet for hold up play as seen during his time at Porto. Instead of playing 3 central midfielders as he did at Valencia he now only plays two and allows them to sit deeper, this gives his wingers or ‘inside forwards’ more freedom in possession as they know that they have protection from the two central players.

Constantly evolving his style and receptive to new ideas, Nuno and his team will definitely be the ones to watch this season as they make the step up into the Premier League

Written By Stefan Wray – 343Wolves

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