Wolves will use electric muscle stimulation to help players recover from Europa League exertions before their Premier League opener.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad have a gruelling 6,370-mile round trip to Armenia to play FC Pyunik in the third qualifying round first leg tonight before facing Leicester City away on Sunday.
With only an 18-man squad, head coach Nuno is understandably anxious to protect his players from the effects of travelling and playing in such a short space of time.
Asked how he goes about that, the Portuguese said: “It’s sleep and electro-stimulation – active recovery.”
In electric muscle stimulation (EMS), a series of pads are attached via electrodes to different parts of the body to stimulate muscles. Pulses go from a device to the muscles to mimic action from the central nervous system, and this makes the muscles contract.
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Sports scientists say the process helps the body recover from exercise, but Cristiano Ronaldo has been criticised for endorsing ‘SIXPAD’, a £350 EMS toning belt from Japan that scientists say does nothing.
Nuno, however, swears by Wolves’ methods. The squad will fly home after the game and will be in training on Friday to prepare for Sunday’s game.
Good food, hard work… and no beers
“The best preparation is to have a good meal, rest and avoid alcohol,” he said. “We’re going to work, train, do active recovery.
“We take our own chef. We eat immediately after the game, on the bus, a packed lunch. It’s trying to take care of all our details. All the details are important.
“The players, the discipline they have, is fantastic. A player’s body is their tool. They know that.”
Nuno selected his strongest team to face Belfast’s Crusaders in the last round. But he refuses to discuss what sides he will field in Armenia and against Leicester.
“I never know. That’s why I go game by game,” he said. “After Pyunik, I’ll think about Leicester. But let’s prepare well for Pyunik.”
Meanwhile, Nuno suggests people should not expect a Wolves win, despite the Premier League team being overwhelming favourites to overcome the minnows.
“There’s no favourites in football. The history of football shows that,” said the Molineux boss. “If you look at volleyball or basketball, there’s a big area of statistics and, normally, the teams with the better statistics win. Football is one of the only sports that cannot be dictated by statistics.”
Right wing-back Matt Doherty is available for the first time this summer after recovering from a knee injury sustained in pre-season training.
Striker Raul Jimenez has recovered from an ankle knock picked up in the 4-1 win at Crusaders last week.
New signings Jesus Vallejo and Patrick Cutrone will join the squad for the first time, but Pedro Neto and Bruno Jordao will stay at home.