Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa impressed with Wolves’ transition to Premier League

Nuno Espirito Santo has guided Wolves to successive seventh-placed finishes in the top flight after they had dominated in the Sky Bet Championship.

By Press Association Published: 18 October 2020 - 8.00am

Marcelo Bielsa is full of admiration for Monday night’s opponents Wolves following their two impressive seasons back in the Premier League.

Nuno Espirito Santo has guided Wolves to successive seventh-placed finishes in the top flight after they had dominated in the Sky Bet Championship in a similar manner to Leeds last season.

“This shows or talks very well about the job they have done in their two seasons,” Bielsa said.

“More than them having some new players they are incorporating into their team, they are a team that has consolidated in the league.”

Wolves also reached the Europa League quarter-finals in August and have since added seven new players to their squad, including club record £35.6million signing Fabio Silva and Portugal defender Nelson Semedo.

Bielsa said: “They have a system ingrained within their players, (who play) with a powerful competitiveness.”

Leeds have made an impressive start to life back in the Premier League themselves and sit eighth in the table.

Leeds have impressed since returning to England's top flight
Leeds have impressed since returning to England’s top flight (Catherine Ivill/PA)

They have followed up their 4-3 opening-day defeat at Liverpool with wins over Fulham and Sheffield United and a well-deserved 1-1 draw against Manchester City before the international break.

Leeds fans will be hoping for their first glimpse of latest signing Raphinha against Wolves.

The Brazilian, a £17million deadline-day signing from Rennes, is expected to be included in the squad.

“He’s an additional alternative to the right-wing position, left-wing position and eventually to the central, offensive midfield position,” Bielsa said. “Fundamentally, he’s a winger who can play on the right or left-hand side.”

Skipper Liam Cooper faces a late fitness test after sustaining a calf strain while on duty for Scotland and fellow centre-half Diego Llorente is out.

Llorente withdrew from Spain’s squad last week with a similar problem, but Bielsa’s seven other senior internationals returned this week unscathed.

Liam Cooper, centre top, sustained a calf injury while on duty for Scotland
Liam Cooper, centre top, sustained a calf injury while on duty for Scotland (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Midfielder Kalvin Phillips featured in all three of England’s matches and Bielsa believes his continued involvement will enhance his development.

“He’s competing at international level and also disputing for a place with the best players in England,” Bielsa added.

“Phillips is a versatile player and he can play in different styles. In the national team, he plays in the centre of the pitch.

“In our team, he plays in the same position. Things he picks up with England will surely make him better.”