Max Kilman was the latest under-23 player to be named in a first-team matchday squad against Fulham on Saturday – one of several young players training regularly with Nuno and his coaching staff.
And the head coach is happy to know he can call upon the youth squad when help is needed, as well as players who are pushing for a first-team start – including Romain Saiss, who had to wait to take his chance this season but is now a regular fixture in the starting Premier League lineup, culminating in scoring the equalising goal on Boxing Day.
On Romain Saiss’ impact
“Romain has waited his chance, and this is what it’s all about. It reflects the importance of what I always say about the squad, it’s how you wait for your chance and when it comes you have to perform. You have to prepare yourself for that moment.
“Romain did so. He did well, he helped the team, but that is what we expect from all the players.”
On naming Max Kilman as a substitute
“It was a very good experience for him. It’s the first contact he’s had with the Premier League, he was a former youth player of Fulham, and that shows that our back-ups from the under-23s are there if we need them.
“We count on them, we trust them to help the team if necessary.”
On player fitness
“The players are coping with the busy schedule, they are OK. The last game they finished really strong, there were moments when we were unbalanced, and we required more high sprinting runs and we did so. Now we recover well as it’s a tight schedule.
“It’s impossible to make so many games so intense. All the games are very difficult for the players.
“Specific positions have different impacts on the pitch, so we know there are specific positions in our shape that requires some rest and recovery.”
On January transfer window
“We know that there is the transfer window, so we have pay attention to it and we know what we have to do.
“Everybody’s working, all the teams are all over Europe working on their transfer windows. But it’s not the moment to be focused on that. My priority and our priority is the game of tomorrow.
“The players who are going to be involved tomorrow and the players who are going to be involved after are here, so we cannot think about anybody else who is not here, because we are here, and we have the task to go tomorrow and go again the match after.”
On expectations for 2019
“We want to improve, we want to keep on building, we want to become stronger. 2019, we will look forward to it.
“If we can repeat all the success we have had in 2018 it means we are in the right way, and we want to improve and get better. This is the only philosophy that I understand. Each day of your life you have to improve.”