Wolverhampton manager, Nuno Espirito Santo says Raul Jimenez will take Wolves’ next penalty – as he criticised Ruben Neves’s miss in the 1-0 win over Slovan Bratislava.
Jimenez struck in the second minute of time added on to spare the blushes of Neves, whose 51st minute attempt was saved by goalkeeper Dominik Greif after Vasil Bozhikov trod on Pedro Neto’s right heel.
Head coach Nuno revealed Wolves have a rotation policy for penalties, and on Thursday night, it was Neves’s turn, even though Jimenez had scored the previous thre times from the spot, against Burnley, Southampton and in the first game against Bratislava.
“Today was Ruben’s turn, he didn’t make it, next time it’s going to be Raul, hopefully he will make it – this is the moment we have to decide,” said Nuno.
“Ruben has to improve. He kicked it very bad, he kicked it so bad. You have to give credit to the goalkeeper but it’s the perfect spot to stop it: medium high and slow. Bad! He has to practice tomorrow. A lot.”
Neves netted from 12 yards away to Pyunik earlier in the season and has previously been successful from the spot last season at home to Tottenham and away to Everton.
“We practice a lot in the training sessions, we have designated penalty takers.
“This time it was Ruben, he was not happy because he didn’t kick well, and he’s conscious of that so he must work hard,” added Nuno.
As well as denying Neves from the spot, Grief made fine saves to foil Joao Moutinho, Jimenez, Matt Doherty and Neves’s 30-yard piledriver.
“He did a very good job but we have to improve,” said Nuno about Greif. “We had chances where we could have done better.
“We arrived many times to the end line and the action must be finished.”
Victory extended Wolves’ unbeaten run in the Europa League and Premier League to nine while they have won three in a row in Europe for the first time since completing six on their way to the UEFA Cup final in 1971-72.
Wolves remain second in Group K but now need just a point to qualify for the group stages from their final two games away to Braga and at home to Besiktas, after moving five points clear of Slovan.
“We controlled the game really well,” reflected Nuno. “We played good in the first half and in the second half there were too many chances but we allowed Slovan chances to create counter-attacks, it was beginning to come apart.”
Nuno felt the fans played their part in getting the team over the line with their support.
“I think we deserved this win because the boys worked hard and the support of the fans until the end – it was a good moment for everybody,” said the boss.
“It (The goal) was a fantastic moment for the team. It took time but I think Molineux pushed us a lot.
“Now we have to focus on Sunday, but it was a very good moment, being back to Molineux – the crowd were incredible, 30,000 fans supporting.
“I wanted a lot of things from the game, some of them happened and others not, but the way we work we try to regroup for the next one.”
Nuno added: “We had to be patient. I think we played good, we created a lot of chances. We played well, we combined well. They are a good team, a very organised team.”
Bratislava defender Kenan Bajric was stretchered off the field with concussion after receiving an accidental boot in the face from Jimenez’s attempted overhead kick.
“I’ve not spoken to him yet,” said Nuno. “But I’ve spoken with them (Slovan) and I hope it’s not serious.
“It’s a tough time when it’s a kick in the head, I think all the care should be taken when attending to a player.
“A word to Slovan because they were a very good team and I wish them all the best.”