Former Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray has commended the team’s current number one Rui Patricio for his performances amid considerable “disruption” to the make-up of the defence ahead of him.
Nuno Espirito Santo has had to alter his defensive line-up considerably in recent games due to the fractured fibula suffered by Willy Boly, along with a groin problem for Ryan Bennett in late October and early November.
Despite the setbacks to that duo, who were both regulars in the team last season, Wolves are on a seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, and Murray believes that the ever-present Patricio has been a key figure in that impressive spell.
He told the Express & Star: “The bit that is really impressive about Rui is the way he has handled the disruption at the back.
“Last season was a settled back five. This season he’s lost Willy Boly; Ryan Bennett has been in and out. He’s had Dendoncker, Saiss, Jesus Vallejo, even Matt Doherty as a right sided centre-half in front of him.
“But that disruption to the defensive unit, has not unsettled Rui. That is very impressive how he has managed that defence.”
Murray is quite right to laud the performances of Patricio this season, given the enforced disruption to Wolves’ defence.
Since the October international break, the Portugal netminder has let in four goals in as many Premier League games, having conceded 10 times in eight matches in the division up to then. [via TransferMarkt]
That is despite Boly not playing since the Europa League win away to Slovan Bratislava a month ago, with Bennett missing the games at Newcastle and Arsenal.
In their absence, Nuno has played midfielders Romain Saiss and Leander Dendoncker in centre-back positions, as well as dragging right-back Matt Doherty into a central defensive role for the draw at St James’ Park.
In contrast to these disruptions, Patricio had a very settled defensive unit ahead of him last season, with centre-backs Boly, Bennett and Conor Coady each starting 34 league games or more – Coady was ever-present throughout the whole campaign. [via WhoScored]
Despite the changing cast list in the defence this season, the Wolves goalkeeper has still had a decent concession rate of 15 goals in 12 Premier League games (1.25 per game), a rate that is only marginally worse than the 46 he shipped in 37 league matches (1.24 per game) last term.
Wolves also have the joint-sixth best defensive record in the division so far in 2019/20, with Patricio preserving his 2.6 saves per game average from last season.
The goalkeeper has maintained his standards despite the loss of two regular members of the Wolves defence in recent weeks, so the praise he has received from Murray is well deserved.
Wolves fans, do you agree with Murray’s views about Patricio’s form this season? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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