Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has declared defender Max Kilman is ready to play a key role for his side in the Premier League this season.
The 23-year-old produced a man-of-the-match display in Wolves’ 1-0 win at Leeds on Monday night in only his fifth league appearance for the club.
“I’m proud of the answer he’s given, but the credit is for him,” Nuno said after Raul Jimenez’s deflected second-half strike secured his side all three points.
Your #LEEWOL Man of the Match…
— Wolves (@Wolves) October 19, 2020
“When your chance comes you have to respond and Max did that. Two seasons ago Max was a back-up and now he is ready to compete.”
Kilman, alongside fellow defender Conor Coady, responded flawlessly as Leeds tore into their opponents and dominated the first half.
Wolves regrouped during the interval before turning the tide and Kilman, signed from Maidenhead just over two years ago, was central to their fight-back, even providing the decisive pass for Jimenez’s winning goal.
“I think he played well,” added Nuno after handing Kilman his second league start of the season.
“In the second half he started really well, reading the lines and anticipating well. It was a good pass forward for the goal too.
“Max, I think everybody knows, he was with the under-23s. His professional career was very premature.
“I think he has something. He works very hard, he knows what he has to improve and he’s become stronger as the time has gone by.”
For all Leeds’ slick build-up play they rarely tested Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio and had nothing to show for their early dominance.
“It’s bitterly disappointing,” Stuart Dallas told the club’s official website. “I think we controlled large parts of the game, but maybe didn’t make the goalkeeper work enough.
“It’s a game of fine margins and unfortunately for us they’ve had a bit of luck with the goal.”
Jimenez’s 70th-minute winner came courtesy of a wicked deflection off Kalvin Phillips’ head, but Wolves’ breakthrough had been coming.
Forward Daniel Podence had forced a fine save from Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier just before half-time and Romain Saiss’s superb finish from the edge of the area had been ruled out by VAR for offside in the 54th minute.
💬 "It's a game of fine margins" Stuart Dallas chats to the media after tonight's fixture with Wolves pic.twitter.com/Sm6kkkSQmc
— Leeds United (@LUFC) October 19, 2020
“On the whole, reacting now straight after the game, we’re disappointed we didn’t get anything out of it,” Dallas added.
“When you’re playing teams like this, you’ve got to capitalise when you’re on top and we didn’t do that.
“You’ve got to give Wolves credit as well, they came here, the way they set up they had a game plan and it worked.”
Leeds will bid to bounce back at high-flying Aston Villa on Friday, while Wolves, whose win lifted them up to sixth place, play Newcastle at home on Sunday.