Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo has applauded Matt Doherty and insists he does not care what Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill thinks about the right-back after he scored the winner against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Doherty has three Ireland caps to his name and has been called up again for upcoming Nations League games against Denmark and Wales.
But many supporters have been confused by how infrequently Doherty – who has flourished over the last few years for Wolves – has been used by O’Neill, sparking suggestions there is a personal issue between the two.
Doherty has previously claimed O’Neill wants him to attack more, though he also suggested “maybe my face just doesn’t fit in” after apparently having his defensive capabilities questioned by the experienced manager as well.
But Nuno is happy with the 26-year-old, after he produced an enterprising performance as a wing-back in Wolves’ 1-0 win at Palace, scoring the winner after a smart exchange with Raul Jimenez.
When O’Neill’s apparent comments were put to Nuno, he told reporters: “Matt has been doing his job since last season.
“He didn’t change the way he approaches the competitions and he’s doing well. What others think and what others want, I don’t really care.
“What I want is what he’s giving me and giving his team-mates, not only in the offensive part but in defence and set-pieces, because he’s a very important player.”
FT | #CRY 0-1 #WOL
THAT’S IT! Full time at Selhurst Park! Matt Doherty’s second half strike gives Wolves all three points with a 1-0 win over @CPFC ! #CRYWOL
— Wolves (@Wolves) October 6, 2018
Nuno’s counterpart on Saturday was Roy Hodgson, and the former England manager was keen to deflect blame from goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who was beaten by Doherty at his near post for the game’s solitary goal.
“He had almost nothing to do in the first half and made a fantastic save,” Hodgson said. “I thought they might score that.
“For the goal, it is not just the goalkeeper. You look at defenders as well, and the guy [Doherty] took the chance.
“[It was] good work from them, but any goal you concede is a bad one, because someone somewhere could have done better.”