Wolves face tough Besiktas test
Wolves will face Besiktas, Braga and Slovan Bratislava after reaching the group stage of the Europa League.
The West Midlanders beat Torino 2-1 at Molineux on Thursday night to complete a 5-3 aggerate victory and book their spot in Europe’s second-tier competition.
It is the first time that the men in gold and black have played in Europe since 1980 and they will fancy their chances of getting out of the group, with a trip to Turkey to take on Besiktas looking the toughest test.
Portuguese outfit Braga will be no pushovers but Slovakian side Slovan Bratislava look there for the taking.
Wolves will have to juggle life in the Europa League with their Premier League campaign and will be mindful that clubs have struggled to do so in the past.
However Nuno Espirito Santo has a talented squad at his disposal and they have recorded creditable draws in their first three league fixtures in 2019-2020.
Midfielder Leander Dendoncker scored Wolves’ second at Molineux but despite the euphoria of European progression, feels it is vital that they all stay grounded.
“Now we have to keep a low profile, as we do always, and just take it game by game,” he said after the Torino triumph. “I think we can be a very tough team to play against but we have to keep on doing our own work.
“We were very happy but not too much because we have an important game ahead on Sunday.”
Nuno will doubtless endorse those words and Wolves’ Portuguese tactician does try to remain level-headed despite the roller-coaster nature of life in the Premier League.
Ryan Bennett watched the draw unfold on Friday and, in true football parlance, insists there will be no easy games.
“It’s going to be tough, every team being drawn out of the hat was going to be a tough place to go,” he told the club’s official website.
“I’ve played at Braga in a pre-season game with Norwich and it’s a difficult place to go. I’ve never come up against Besiktas, but you’ve seen them and know it’s a hostile place to play.”
The first matches of this season’s competition are due to be played on September 19 but Wolves are yet to learn their opening-round opponents for their first foray into Europe for almost 40 years.
Neil Foster is an experienced journalist who specialises in cricket and rugby union. Neil also has a solid knowledge of tennis, golf and football.