Nuno hails ‘clinical’ Diogo Jota as Wolves ease past struggling Norwich
Nuno Espirito Santo hailed “clinical” Diogo Jota as Wolves rubbed salt into Norwich’s relegation-threatened wounds.
After bagging a hat-trick in Thursday night’s crushing 4-0 Europa League win over Espanyol, Portuguese midfielder Jota made it five goals in three days with a double in Wolves’ comfortable 3-0 Premier League triumph over the floundering Canaries at Molineux.
The burst has taken Jota’s tally to 14 for the season, ending an eight-game drought that had followed another five-goals-in-two-games blast in early December.
Asked whether Jota was back to full confidence, Wolves boss Nuno said: “He is always confident.
“We know a player’s performance can go up and down. It’s the right decisions, the right solutions we try to find to keep sustaining his performance, not only him, but all the team.
“Of course, I’m delighted with his goals. It’s nothing specific. These things happen. His last touch has been clinical, Thursday and today, and hopefully it continues.”
Although Wolves were sluggish in the opening 15 minutes, following Jota’s opener in the 18th they were the only team in the game, with the 23-year-old adding his second on the half hour.
Jota came within inches of completing his hat-trick in the 50th minute as a rasping drive came back off a post, fortunately rebounding to Raul Jimenez who was able to bundle home his 21st of the campaign from six yards.
The win and fourth-consecutive clean sheet in all competitions means Wolves are within two points of fifth-placed Manchester United.
Explaining the hunger of his squad following what was Wolves’ 44th game of the season, Nuno revealed he and his staff are working seven days a week.
“The way they recover, the way they respect themselves, the way the staff dedicates, we don’t have days off,” revealed Nuno.
“We are always preparing ourselves to compete. This is how we want to compete, and the difficulty is to sustain it, so it requires a lot of hard work, and every day is harder.
“But it’s our job. We embrace the challenge, so everybody has to help – everyone.”
With Norwich staring at an immediate return to the Championship, boss Daniel Farke has accused his players of being “soft”, with his side now going 562 minutes without a goal from open play.
“We started this game well and were on the front foot for 20 minutes, but I wasn’t happy with our physicality in the final third,” said Farke.
“When you are that dominant at the start of a game, you create so many good situations, you have to reward yourself with scoring a goal.
“But we lost too many offensive duels, and we got our lesson when it went 1-0, more or less with the first time they were in our half.”
Despite Norwich remaining seven points adrift of safety, Farke insists he is “not closing the book on this season”.
But he needs more from this players, adding: “You have to give your life with each and every duel and I got the feeling that sometimes we were a bit soft and scared.
“We need to be greedy to win the duel, and unbelievably sharp. You need to be convinced and not scared. I think we lacked that and I’m disappointed with that fact.”