Nuno hails Moutinho’s mentality in mammoth season
Joao Moutinho is on course to make more than 60 appearances this season, with Nuno Espirito Santo insisting the “top professional” is invaluable to Wolves.
Moutinho will rack up his 56th appearance of an extended campaign against Sheffield United tonight, to equal the record for this season in Europe. He has played 50 matches for Wolves and five for Portugal. He could even play 64 games if he appears in every game and his club reach next month’s Europa League final.
Wolves started their season on July 25 last year with a Europa League qualifier against Crusaders.
Ahead of the crucial league match at Bramall Lane, Nuno highlighted the 33-year-old’s enduring quality as his team hunt a Champions League spot.
“Joao is a top professional and he’s experienced. To play so many games says a lot about his mentality,” the manager said. “He knows the importance of how to handle a very tight schedule and what you have to do during that process.
“Joao does it every day, not only this season, either. He has been competitive through all his career and he is a natural competitor.
“He loves the game, loves to train and compete. He enjoys passing this knowledge to younger teammates and that is so good for us.”
Nuno has confirmed that £17million signing Daniel Podence is available for the game at Bramall Lane, after being cleared to play by the Premier League.
Podence returned to Portugal last week to attend a personal issue, but has been granted dispensation to play due to the Government’s rules on making elite sports teams exempt from 14-day quarantine.
The former Olympiacos winger could even start as Pedro Neto is doubtful after taking a “strong kick” in the defeat by Arsenal on Saturday.