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Tottenham Hotspur-Wolverhampton Preview – Sports Illustrated

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Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo did not apologise for disparaging comments he made about Premier League referee Lee Mason in the wake of his side’s defeat at Burnley.

The Clarets won 2-1 on Monday, but Nuno was left seething at the performance of referee Mason, who the Wolves coach said was “not good enough” to officiate at the top level.

Nuno was asked to explain his comments by the Football Association (FA), and though he regretted the timing, he insisted he would not apologise for them.

“I should apologise for the timing of my comments. They were not in the best moment to come across because it could be a bad interpretation,” he said. “I won’t apologise for my words and thoughts.

“I never judge or question the integrity of a referee. What I said was about the ability of the referee, what I felt and what I saw in the previous matches. The Premier League is the best competition in the world – the only thing missing is the fans – and we expect high levels of performance and high standards. As managers and players what we expect is from the referees to be confident, maintain their authority on the pitch, to control the players and to handle the game.”

With three defeats from their last five league games, Wolves sit 11th heading into Sunday’s clash with Tottenham, who ended a three-match winless streak by beating Stoke City in the EFL Cup.

“This is a question I have to answer for three years in a row. You just have to copy and paste what I said then. He’s a great coach, very good work, the results are there,” Tottenham’s Jose Mourinho replied when asked about the work Nuno has done at Wolves. “You look to the table and how can you analyse managers with this table. This is a table that changes every week, every two matches. Nuno is a very good coach.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wolves – Adama Traore

Traore was called on from the bench against Burnley and created three chances, though it was not enough to inspire a comeback. With games coming thick and fast over Christmas, the winger’s pace and power will be crucial.

Tottenham – Harry Kane

Kane has scored nine Premier League goals this season; his next strike will see him become just the fourth Englishman to reach double figures in seven consecutive Premier League campaigns, after Michael Owen (97-98 to 03-04), Frank Lampard (10 between 03-04 and 12-13) and Wayne Rooney (11 between 04-05 and 14-15).

KEY OPTA FACTS

• Following their 3-2 win at Spurs in the last Premier League meeting between the sides, Wolves are looking to secure back-to-back league wins against them for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign, when they completed a league double over them.

• Spurs have won each of their last three Premier League away games against Wolves, netting at least twice each time. Indeed, just one of Spurs’ four Premier League defeats to Wolves has come at Molineux (0-1 in February 2010).

• Having netted 15 goals in their first five Premier League games this season (three per game), Tottenham have netted just 10 in their last nine in the competition (1.1 per game). 20 of their 25 league goals this season (80%) have been scored by either Son Heung-min (11) or Kane (nine).

• Since their return to the Premier League in 2018, Wolves average just 0.7 goals per Premier League game without Raul Jimenez in the starting lineup, compared to 1.3 goals-per-game when the Mexican does start.

• After winning their first four Premier League away games this season, Spurs are winless in their last three on the road (D2 L1). However, they are yet to lose consecutive away league games under Mourinho.

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