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Nuno: Wolves must play game not big occasion

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Raul Jimenez, pictured against Manchester United

Raul Jimenez, pictured against Manchester United

Action Images via Reuters

Raul Jimenez, pictured against Manchester United

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo has told Wolves to play the game and not the occasion ahead of their FA Cup semi-final with Watford.

Wolves are narrow favourites for Sunday's Wembley showdown with the Hornets as they aim to reach the final for the first time since 1960.

The winners will face Manchester City or Brighton - who play on Saturday - in May, but Nuno refused to get carried away.

"Everybody knows what it could mean, but we have to play it just like another game, then make it special to make something happen - play the game," he said.

"You have to know how to play it, focus on the game, don't think about anything else - what it could mean will come afterwards. Make this game special and play the game, action after action.

"Of course it's special, it's Wembley. It means a lot to everyone in football and means a lot to us and our fans.

"It will be special for both teams of course, we look forward to it. Now we must focus on preparing ourselves.

"It's going to be very close. Watford are a good team with a good manager and are very organised. It's going to be tight game."

Raul Jimenez is available after making his loan permanent in a £32million club record move from Benfica.

He is Wolves' 15-goal top scorer and Nuno believes there is more to come from the Mexico international.

He said: "I'm very pleased, especially because of who he is, his behaviour, his character and his performances. But there's always space for improvement, I truly believe it.

"This way Raul will be more relaxed and more confident in the way he has to work."

Nuno has no fresh injury concerns, with Diogo Jota fit despite an ankle knock he suffered in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Manchester United.

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo has told Wolves to play the game and not the occasion ahead of tomorrow's FA Cup semi-final with Watford.

Wolves are narrow favourites for the Wembley showdown against the Hornets as they aim to reach the final for the first time since 1960.

The winners will face Manchester City or Brighton - who play today - on May 18, but Nuno refused to get carried away.

"Everybody knows what it could mean, but we have to play it just like another game, then make it special to make something happen," he said.

"You have to focus on the game, don't think about anything else. What it could mean will come afterwards.

"Of course it's special, it's Wembley and means a lot to us and our fans. It's going to be very close. Watford are a good team with a good manager and are very organised. It's going to be a tight game."

Raul Jimenez is available after making his loan permanent in a £32million club-record move from Benfica.

He is Wolves' 15-goal top scorer and Nuno believes there is more to come from the Mexico international.

He said: "I'm very pleased with his behaviour, character and performances. But there's always space for improvement.

"This way Raul will be more relaxed and more confident in the way he has to work."

Nuno has no injury concerns, with Diogo Jota fit after an ankle knock in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Javi Gracia insists guiding Watford to the final will be the greatest achievement of his managerial career to date.

The Hornets are looking to reach just the second FA Cup final in their history and the first since 1984.

Gracia, who took charge at Vicarage Road in January 2018, feels another trip to Wembley on May 18 would be special. "I've never coached in a final," said Gracia (48). "I've reached semi- finals in Russia as Rubin Kazan boss but a final I never played and it would be the best achievement in my career for sure.

"It is very good for all the squad. We have 26 players who have all done well. It is a good reward for all of them, not just the 11 players who play the next game. It is something different for our fans and I am happy they have the chance to enjoy going to Wembley."

Gracia has already secured the highest Premier League points total for Watford who are fighting Leicester, Everton, West Ham and Wolves to finish seventh.

The Spaniard believes an additional benefit of reaching the FA Cup final would provide a boost in performance with Europa League qualification still a possibility through both cup and league position.

Asked if a win over Wolves would help in their pursuit of finishing seventh, Gracia added: "I am sure of that.

"If we make the final I'm sure for the next six games, playing four of them at home, we will be able to get more points."