Matt Maher: Not even Nuno can be immune to the strains he faced in 2020

Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach / manager, talks to referee Lee Mason full time.  (AMA)
Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach / manager, talks to referee Lee Mason full time. (AMA)

You can also include pretty much everyone in the West Midlands football media who, over the last three and a half years, have become accustomed to the Wolves boss delivering clinics to the art of talking a lot without actually saying anything.

Nuno never criticizes officials, even when there is a good reason. Just nine days before the defeat at Turf Moore, he missed an opportunity to comment on Mike Dean’s cartographic exit in the derby since the defeat by Villa, where his team allowed overtime. “You’re going to have to talk to Mike,” was all he would say.

Then came Monday and an open rejection of Mason’s ability which would surely lead to an FA penalty. “He can’t control the players, he doesn’t have the quality to whistle in the Premier League.”

Where the hell did that come from? Admittedly, Mason’s picking of nits doesn’t really allow games to pass, but his performance at Turf Moore wasn’t as bad as the one the Wolves gave themselves.

Was Nun’s outburst too subtle a tactic of turning after an under-display? Yes, quite clearly.

Was it also a sign that the head coach might have started to feel the effort? Maybe a little of that.

This is not to say that Nuno is under particular pressure from above in Molineux, where there is an acceptance that the current campaign will be a transition. Still, the change can be extremely frustrating, especially for a head coach who has experience in finding quick fixes.

Correcting the inconsistencies of this current team of Wolves proves to be much more complicated. If last week’s return to Chelsea was a step forward, this was certainly a step backwards, which was not helped by the tactics of the head coach, who, sometimes accused of not having a plan B, messed up more in the last month than the previous three and a half years combined.

The human element should not be neglected. This has been a difficult year for everyone, including football managers. Nuno has spent a good chunk of it away from family and although he might come across a cool customer, everyone has a trigger point.

Speaking of the bigger picture, the Wolves have the same number of points as last season in the same phase, and are only seven ahead of second-placed Leicester.

It is too early to dismiss this season as a write-off, although it is undoubtedly difficult for now.