Nuno Espirito Santo said he “only can see good things” ahead for Wolves after bowing out as the club’s manager on Sunday.
The Portuguese oversaw the final game of his four-year tenure as his side were beaten 2-1 at home by Manchester United. Wolves had announced two days earlier that he was to leave the club by mutual agreement after the fixture.
The game saw the return of Wolves fans to Molineux, with 4,500 allowed to attend, and supporters chanted Nuno’s name heartily before, during and after the match.
Under the 47-year-old, the club won the Championship title in 2017-18, then twice came seventh in the Premier League – and reached the Europa League quarter-finals – before Sunday’s 13th-placed finish.
Asked after the United contest if he felt Wolves could push forward after his departure, Nuno said: “Of course – I’m positive and I’m sure, because the foundation is there, the quality and talent of the players, the commitment of the players, the way they work with each other for the club.
“I only can see good things.”
Regarding his reign, he said: “I always like to look at things as a whole, and now we have a chance to reflect on four years, four seasons that we were together.
“The highlight is how we finish – we finish with the same spirit, the same unity, and proud of ourselves because it is amazing what the players have done since day one. We must really value what we have built.
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“It means a lot, the love and respect we felt and feel (from fans), the bond the fans have created with the team, the squad, all of us. It is very special, the bond between the fans and the team, and this will stay forever, it is something that is here to stay.
“What we wanted to build we achieved and you can see the togetherness that exists, and this is the more important thing.
“When you want to work with a group of players first you have to create a really special bond among themselves, with you, the club, the fans, the city. Then comes the sports achievement, but the more important one is the love and respect we have for each other.
“Wolverhampton is a place I love. It’s a ‘see you soon’.”
Tough final campaign for Nuno
Specifically on Wolves’ injury-affected 2020-21, Nuno said: “It was a very tough season, but the way the players have worked, have reacted to all the circumstances that unfortunately we had, I only feel proud of the mission, that we did it together.”
One of the major setbacks Wolves suffered during the campaign was Raul Jimenez sustaining a fractured skull in November. The striker has not played since, but was part of the warm-up ahead of Sunday’s match as he works towards a return next term.
Nuno said: “He was not on the team sheet, but we decided for him to just be there on the pitch, touch the ball, feel the atmosphere of the game and the fans seeing a player they love.
“The more important thing is we are sure he is going to compete again, he’s going to play football, and he is the one that is really anxious to do it. Raul is back so it is very good.”
The match saw Nelson Semedo’s maiden Wolves goal cancel out Antony Elanga’s early opener before Juan Mata struck what proved the winner with a penalty in first-half stoppage time.