Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo has offered an explanation in regards to the curious case of Diogo Jota.
The Portugal international – who scored 16 goals last season – travelled to Molineux for Wolves’ Carabao Cup defeat to Stoke on Thursday evening.
However, the Express and Star state that Jota was thought to have left the stadium before the match even kicked off.
When quizzed on the matter, Nuno didn’t say anything about an injury problem, and repeatedly said the forward wasn’t available.
The Express and Star quote him as saying: ‘He was not available for the game. He wasn’t available, these are decisions we have to make. It was a big turnaround, we have to take care of the players, improve our squad and our team and he was not available for the game. These are our decisions to make.
‘It’s because we have a bubble, we have to make a list, all those details. Nothing strange. You are going to speculate a lot. He was not on the squad list. Period.’
If Nuno is referencing ‘a bubble’ in terms of COVID, then it seems strange that Jota would even travel with the squad. The Birmingham Mail state that he was seen out on the pitch chatting to his teammates.
Interestingly, the ex-Porto boss also left the 23-year-old on the bench for Wolves’ Premier League opener against Sheffield United.
Jota does not appear to be injured, nor is he a player who has previously spent much time on the bench under Nuno.
He made 34 Premier League appearances last term – 27 of those being starts – while his aforementioned goal contributions make him a valuable squad member.
For him not to get any game-time in his legs against Championship opposition is a strange decision alone. Nuno’s reluctance to put an end to the speculation has only made the situation even more intriguing.