Leonid Slutsky: Nuno's Wolves 'best team in Championship', says Hull boss

Nuno Espirito Santo
Nuno was 297 minutes into his reign as Wolves head coach before his side finally conceded a goal

Hull City head coach Leonid Slutsky has labelled Wolves the "best team in the Championship" in the wake of seeing his Tigers side beaten at home by Nuno's expensively reassembled outfit.

Bookmakers immediately responded to Wolves' 3-2 win on Tuesday by installing the West Midlands side as the new favourites for promotion.

But Slutsky was in no doubt, claiming: "We played the best team in the league.

"I have done a lot of research. Wolves are, at this moment, the best team."

He told BBC Radio Humberside: "I am disappointed that we lost but I am proud that, for a short time, we played on the same level as, for me, the best team in the Championship."

Nuno added: "I thank Leonid for those comments. I know him and I appreciate those words from a very good coach. We had moments of really good football.

"The goals are the moments of beauty that the fans come for," he told BBC WM. "It is what we are here for - to give the fans magic moments."

Nouha Dicko
Nouha Dicko's killer third goal at Hull - his first league goal since hitting the winner at Leeds on Easter Monday - gave Wolves a late two-goal cushion prior to the Tigers' injury-time penalty

Wolves, remoulded under Nuno this summer with investment from Chinese owners Fosun, are one of three sides to have begun the new Championship campaign with 100% winning records.

One of them is former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy's Ipswich Town, while Wolves face the other - Neil Warnock's Cardiff City - at Molineux on Saturday.

Victory would take Wolves top of the table and equal the club's best start to a league season since they won their first four matches in 1998-99.

"I'm very happy," said Nuno. "It is great reward for so many hours of hard work in pre-season. But my message is very clear - tomorrow is the most important, the past doesn't count."

Let's not get too carried away...

Is this Wolves side the real deal, or is there a dip ahead for Wanderers?

In all three seasons in which they last won promotion (2002-03, 2008-09 and 2013-14), Wolves went unbeaten in at least their first five league games.

But you don't have to be too old a Wolves fan to know that they have also enjoyed good starts to the season before - and not delivered in the end.

  • 1998-99: Mark McGhee's side won their first four Championship matches, but then won just two of their next 12 and McGhee was sacked on Bonfire Night.
  • 2001-02: Unbeaten in their first 11 league matches under Dave Jones, Wolves still looked automatic promotion certainties in mid-March. However, they won just two of their last nine games, lost second spot to local rivals West Bromwich Albion - who had been 11 points behind them with seven games left - and lost to Norwich in the play-offs.
  • 2011-12: Wolves picked up seven points from their first three Premier League matches under Mick McCarthy to go top for about three hours. They won just three more league games before McCarthy was sacked following the 5-1 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion in February, and they were relegated by mid-April.
  • 2012-13: Wolves won six of their first 10 league games under newly-appointed Stale Solbakken to be third on 3 October, but they were to win just three more times under the Norwegian and he was sacked after the FA Cup defeat at non-league Luton three months later.
  • 2014-15: Newly-promoted Wolves won four of their first five league games under Kenny Jackett, but a run of five straight defeats in November ultimately cost them a Championship play-off place.
  • 2016-17: Unbeaten in their first four games under Walter Zenga, the first head coach appointed by Fosun, Wolves were third. But they were to win just twice more in the following 10 league games and the Italian had gone from Molineux by 25 October.

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