Nuno Espirito Santo heaps praise on ‘special’ Raul Jimenez as Wolves keep Champions League hopes alive with his winner against Bournemouth (and he broke a club record in the process!)
- Raul Jimenez was the hero for Wolves in a narrow 1-0 win over Bournemouth
- Nuno Espirito Santo was full of praise for his ‘special’ striker at the final whistle
- Victory keeps Wolves in contention for the Champions League spots this season
- They are sixth, two points behind Chelsea in fourth, and they are full of belief
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo praised ‘special’ striker Raul Jimenez after the forward maintained the club’s Champions League charge.
The Mexico international’s second-half header secured a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at Molineux.
Wolves are sixth, just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea who now have a game in hand, and they travel to Stamford Bridge on the final day of the season.
Raul Jimenez was lauded by his manager after a major contribution against Bournemouth
Nuno Espirito Santo (second from right) hailed his Mexican striker as a ‘special player’
Wolves sit sixth, just two points off Chelsea in fourth, despite them having a game in hand
Jimenez’s 15 league goals is also the most by a Wolves player in the top flight since John Richards scored 17 in 1975-76, leaving Nuno impressed.
The Wolves boss said: ‘He has been working very hard and he is a special player. His motivation is to improve, he has broken the club record (most goals in a Premier League season) and he is challenging himself again and again every day.
‘He has improved in a lot of things, I cannot be specific with one, but if you asked me the other way around there is also a lot of room to improve. He can be better.’
Nuno joked that he would talk to the striker after Jimenez said the club should dream big following two straight wins after the restart.
Jimenez got the only goal of the game inside an empty Molineux on Wednesday evening
Jimenez has since broken Wolves’ club record for most goals in a Premier League season
He added: ‘Our players think, they get excited after a game. I’ll put him in his place.’
Despite Wolves’ excellent form – they have lost just twice in the Premier League in 2020 – Nuno still refused to be drawn on their Champions League hopes.
‘We have two days to prepare for Aston Villa, let’s rest well and prepare for the next game, that’s the only thing in our minds now,’ he said. ‘We are in the middle of a pandemic, we have been through three months, like everyone, with difficulties.’
In a game of few chances, Jimenez and Adama Traore combined for the 10th time this season to seal victory on the hour.
Traore swung in a cross from the right and Jimenez rose about Jack Stacey and Steve Cook to power in a header from six yards.
Pedro Neto should have made it 2-0 in stoppage time after an excellent run but fired wide.
Bournemouth never looked like recovering after going behind and are now without top scorer Callum Wilson for their next two games against Newcastle and Manchester United after he was booked for the 10th time this season.
Nuno refused to be drawn on Champions League ambitions with the club in striking distance
They remain in the drop zone on goal difference.
Boss Eddie Howe said: ‘It’s very tight, it will go possibly down to the wire. We have to realise, although we are in a difficult moment, nothing is lost. We still have a chance to define our destiny.
‘I’m frustrated because we gave everything to the game. We started well, the first half was pretty good. The second half they put us under more pressure and the goal is out of nothing.
‘It was a carbon copy of their goal at West Ham, which is disappointing. You’re not going to stop every cross but we should have defended the cross better.
‘We’re not creating enough, nowhere near enough. That’s the thing which will hurt us more. We have good technical players but it didn’t show. We were wasteful with the ball and ultimately I think that has cost us the game.’
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