Nuno hails Wolves spirit after last-gasp leveller denies Palace
His opposite number Roy Hodgson admitted the 1-1 draw felt like a defeat
Nuno Espirito Santo believes Wolves’ dramatic late equaliser at Crystal Palace shows his players can cope with the extra demand of playing in the Europa League this season.
Leander Dendoncker’s own goal 33 seconds into the second half looked set to give the hosts a 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.
It would have been a fourth consecutive defeat for Wolves, but in the 95th minute Diogo Jota fired home from Adama Traore’s cross and earned the visitors a much-needed point.
After playing in the Europa League on Thursday against Braga and finishing this game with 10 men after Romain Saiss was dismissed for a second yellow, Nuno’s team still found the energy to grab a leveller.
“We had heart, character, spirit with one man down to go and keep fighting and working,” he said.
“This shows a lot of things and says a lot about the spirit we have. This says a lot about the players.
“Our preparation started on June 27 and we knew that we would be involved in this challenge and we have to embrace it.
“Every player is working very hard and the proof is the way they run until the last second of the game. It was incredible – really, really great credit to them.”
Nuno, asked how Saiss reacted to his sending-off, added: “Like a professional player. He doesn’t have to apologise. He has to grow.”
Palace manager Roy Hodgson admitted the 1-1 draw felt like a defeat given the chances they had in the second half, even though it extended the Eagles’ run of unbeaten league games at Selhurst Park to five.
Christian Benteke and Jeffrey Schlupp should have scored during the final exchanges, but Rui Patricio denied them and allowed Wolves to grab a point when Joel Ward failed to clear Traore’s ball into the box.
“When you think it’s our game, our three points and it suddenly becomes one, it’s like a defeat,” Hodgson said.
“It’s unbelievably disappointing. I thought we did more than enough in the second half of the game to win it. It was a very good second-half performance.
“Perhaps we should have taken one or two of those very good chances we created and the situations we created around the penalty area, and then maybe we wouldn’t have been concerned about the last minute of the game and a cross coming into our box.”