Wolves tak­ing noth­ing for granted in host­ing Slo­van Bratislava as Europa League knock­out stages beckon

The National - News - - FOOTBALL SPORT - THE NA­TIONAL

Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers man­ager Nuno Espir­ito Santo has said his team will not be tak­ing any­thing for granted as they close in on the Europa League knock­out stages.

Wolves take on Slo­van Bratislava at Mo­lineux tonight and vic­tory over the Slo­vakian side would move five them points clear of the vis­i­tors, who sit third in Group K, with two games to play.

Af­ter a 2-1 win in Slo­vakia two weeks ago, Wolves are sec­ond in the group, a point be­hind Por­tuguese side Braga, whom they travel to play later this month.

De­spite their po­si­tion of strength, Nuno in­sisted Wolves will not be look­ing any fur­ther ahead then the match against Slo­van Bratislava.

“We are al­ways con­fi­dent, we can­not ex­pect things to hap­pen, we have to make them hap­pen,” he said. “We have to play the game, we are ready to com­pete and Slo­van are a very tough team. Com­pet­ing well is more im­por­tant [than think­ing about qual­i­fy­ing].

“It was an im­por­tant re­sult [in Bratislava], Slo­van are a very good team, they caused us prob­lems and we ex­pect a tough game again. We want to play, per­form, we are back at Mo­lineux and want to per­form well.”

Wolves will be with­out Por­tuguese for­ward Diogo Jota, who is banned af­ter his late red card in Slo­vakia while English mid­fielder Mor­gan Gibb­sWhite is still strug­gling with a back prob­lem.

Ir­ish full-back Matt Do­herty is ex­pected to be fit de­spite be­ing forced off in Satur­day’s 1-1 draw at Arse­nal with a knee in­jury, as is Ryan Ben­nett, who has re­cov­ered from a groin in­jury and should re­turn to the squad.

Wolves are 12th in the Premier League as they ad­just to play­ing in Europe, and Adama Traore echoed his man­ager’s cau­tion about qual­i­fy­ing from their group.

“I can’t say how far we’ll go but what I can tell you is we will fight ev­ery game to win,” the Span­ish winger said. “We are aware of these three points but the im­por­tant thing is to stay fo­cused, we can’t think about ‘maybe we’ll win three points’.

“Each game is im­por­tant. We don’t come out on to the pitch think­ing ‘win these three points and maybe we’re in the next round’.

“It’s a new com­pe­ti­tion for us, play­ing two games in the week, but the men­tal­ity of the team is great.”

PA

A win tonight will take Nuno Espir­ito Santo’s side on the verge of the last-32 stage

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