Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has heaped praise on Wolves counterpart Nuno Espirito Santo ahead of their Premier League clash at Molineux on Sunday.
Under Nuno, Wolves stylishly swept to the Championship title in his first campaign in charge and last season finished seventh in their first season back in the top flight.
The Midlands club this week qualified for the knockout stages of the Europa League with a match to spare.
Wolves head into the weekend fifth in the Premier League, just a place and a point in front of the Blades, and Wilder believes the Portuguese deserves huge credit for the work he has done.
“Nuno has done a fantastic job at Wolves,” said Wilder. “It is a different club to the promoted clubs.
“I think they were set for Premier League when they were in the Championship, and I do believe they were set for the top 10 when they went up to the Premier League – because of the players they’ve got there.
“But still, to win the Championship is a great achievement and to finish in the top 10 in the Premier League is a great achievement.
“So, as much as the investment and the outstanding players that they have got, you’ve still got to win games of football. I think that comes down to the manager and what he instils in the players and the way they play. I am a great admirer of him.”
Under Nuno, Wolves are also dispelling the assumption that the Europa League has a detrimental affect on league form.
“Their journey is a fantastic one,” said Wilder. “If you look at those teams that do play Europa League football it does seem to take its toll, in terms of preparation when you start the season as you are straight into games. But they seem to come through it with flying colours.”
Wilder sees Sunday’s opponents as an example that he hopes his club can follow – with a little investment to improve the squad.
“They are a great example, positive in their approach and have kept the same side and added. They have done it in a way that has suited them,” said Wilder.
“They are a powerful football club and deservedly took their place in the Premier League after an outstanding season in the Championship and they have gone from strength to strength.
“They are a club that are quite a way ahead of us at the moment but one that we can possibly look at in terms of investing in our team and trying to compete in this division, improving year on year.”
The Blades will have Dean Henderson and John Egan back in contention against Wolves.
Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, was ineligible against his parent club last weekend. He will replace Simon Moore in goal at Molineux. Defender Egan missed the 3-3 draw with United due to a head injury but he has now recovered.
Lys Mousset was forced off with a hamstring problem late on in that game but the forward will be fit.
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