Leander Dendoncker believes the absence of fans has had an impact on Wolves this season ahead of their return to Molineux for Nuno Espirito Santo’s final game in charge of the club.
Wolves announced to some surprise that their season finale against Manchester United on Sunday would mark the end of Nuno’s four-year spell in the midlands, with a parting of the ways described as being by mutual consent.
However, it is understood owners Fosun instigated the move towards the end of a disappointing campaign for Wolves, who can climb no higher than 12th this weekend, five places below where they have finished in the last two seasons.
Nuno is sure to be given a rousing send-off by the 4,500 supporters attending this weekend’s match and Dendoncker believes their presence has been sorely missed in recent months.
“I’m really looking forward to having the fans back in the stadium,” the Belgian said on Wolves’ website. “I think we really missed them in this season because our home games with the fans is one of our strengths.
“I don’t think a lot of teams have come here to our ground and won easily, but this year without fans it’s changed a little bit with the stadium being empty, and it’s not the same feeling.
“I think everyone is happy that they are back.”
Nuno has been hampered by the unavailability of several key personnel this season, with Raul Jimenez the most notable absentee. The striker has been sidelined since November after suffering a fractured skull against Arsenal.
Jonny has made just eight appearances because of a knee injury, Pedro Neto has missed the closing weeks of the campaign after undergoing surgery on a damaged patella and Dendoncker believes the casualties have taken a toll.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, and injuries to many important players, which makes a huge difference,” he added.
“The absence of Raul, for instance, Pedro has not been here for a while now, (Daniel) Podence has been struggling, Marcal, (Willy) Boly, Jonny as well, who has also had the same injury as he had before – a lot of players have been struggling.
“It’s been really tough and it’s been hard to deal with because our squad is not as big as other teams, so it has reflected on our results this season. We’ve been really unfortunate in that aspect.”