Belfast Telegraph

Players must keep ‘distance’ from transfer rumours, says Wolves boss Nuno

West Ham travel to Wolves in the Premier League on Tuesday with Arnautovic expected to return.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo insists he would expect his players to ignore transfer speculation after Marko Arnautovic’s saga at West Ham.

The Hammers forward signed a new deal on Saturday after interest from a Chinese club and is expected to return to Manuel Pellegrini’s squad at Molineux on Tuesday.

The length of the deal has not been announced but Arnautovic could have earned £41million over four years had he moved to China.

Nuno did not refer to Arnautovic by name but would want any of his squad to keep their focus.

“You have to distance yourself to what is going on around you and do it as a group, sticking to our ethic of working hard,” he said.

“It’s simple – work, focus. What is important is what you do in the training session, what you do during the competition.

“When a manager doesn’t have all the players, something is missing.

“Every team, when all the players are available, it’s easier. They have quality players all over the pitch. Knowing what we want to do requires a lot of effort.”

Wolves have conceded eight goals in their last three games and almost went out of the FA Cup at Shrewsbury on Saturday.

They recovered from 2-0 down with 15 minutes left to draw 2-2 and force a replay.

He said: “It’s always our focus, our defensive organisation is the starting point for everything. We have to improve, we have to be solid, more compact and there’s a chance to put things right.

“There are lots of things to work on, we have been working on that and we expect to not repeat the same mistakes.

“It’s a new challenge against a tough team. They’ve had bad moments but have grown out of them and both teams are ready to compete. They have a good manager and quality players.”

Wolves have no fresh injury worries but defender Willy Boly serves the final game of his three-match ban.

Meanwhile, Danny Batth is expected to join Stoke in the next 24 hours after undergoing a medical at the Sky Bet Championship side.

The defender has spent the first half of the season on loan at Middlesbrough but will join Stoke on a permanent deal.

Batth has made 212 appearances for Wolves since coming through the ranks at Molineux and captained the side when they won the Championship title last season.

Press Association

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