Wolverhampton Wanderers held their annual end of season awards on Tuesday evening, with the club’s Portuguese contingent – led by Player of the Season João Moutinho – dominating the prizes after a highly successful year for Nuno Espírito Santo’s side.
Meanwhile, veteran Portugal defender Bruno Alves was left to count the cost of his red card during Parma’s defeat to Bologna on Monday night, with the Serie A side still not sure of safety on their return campaign to the top flight.
For João Moutinho, a special evening at Wolves’ awards ceremony saw the Portuguese named the club’s Player of the Season as voted for by supporters. The 32-year-old former Sporting midfielder joined Wolves from Monaco last summer for a fee reportedly as low as €6m, and Moutinho has responded by taking part in all 38 games for Wolves during his debut season as Nuno’s side finished in 7th place in the Premier League.
"I try to do my best, it's a big project,” said Moutinho, who has registered eight assists in the league campaign. “[When Wolves contacted me] I saw it's a club who wants to be better and bigger, I like this challenge. We need to rest now and think and dream bigger. That's what the club wants, that's what I want and my team mates."
Former Benfica striker Raul Jimenez won the top goalscorer award, while Portuguese forward Diogo Jota was handed Goal of the Season for his strike against Cardiff City. Rúben Vinagre made it a Portuguese hat-trick after the defender was named Young Professional of the Season ahead of popular talents Morgan Gibbs-White and Niall Ennis.
Alves on Bologna red card: “My responsibility”
Bruno Alves says he takes culpability for his red card against Bologna in Serie A on Monday evening, after the Parma man was issued two yellow cards in quick succession during a confrontation with forward Riccardo Orsolini.
Parma were beaten 4-1 on the night, with Alves dismissed just after the hour mark having seen his side go 2-0 down. The Portugal defender was booked for a foul on Orsolini, but Alves proceeded to remonstrate with his opponent as the Bologna man remained on the ground, leading to referee Luca Pairetto issuing a second booking.
It was Alves’ first red card of the season, after which the 37-year-old fielded questions from the media. “I tried to do my best,” he said. “I did not react well this time, but what I don’t like about the situation is when players pretend and stay on the ground faking injuries. I know my reaction wasn’t good so I take my responsibility. I don’t judge the referee who has done his best. I take responsibility on the red card as it wasn’t the best reaction.”
Parma are without a victory in nine matches in Serie A, although a recent run of five draws was enough to keep the Gialloblu away from relegation trouble. After Monday’s defeat, Alves’ side are three points clear of the drop-zone with two matches left to play, starting with a home meeting with Fiorentina this weekend.
“I don’t think we played well (against Bologna) but that isn’t too important,” Alves said. “In games like these it doesn’t matter how you play you must achieve your goal, which is to get the points. After we conceded in the second half it became difficult to manage the situation.
“We work hard every week. The players are always the same. In football there are positive and negative moments. You have to keep giving your best and focusing on the upcoming games. The fans have always supported us and I think they will continue to do so. We are still in control of our own destiny. We have got to 38 points thanks to everyone: team, coach, staff and fans. We must keep working hard and look forward to our obligations.”
By Sean Gillen