Nuno reacts to Wolves’ qualification for Europa group stage

Date published: Friday 30th August 2019 8:09

Nuno Espirito Santo Wolves

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo insisted qualification for the Europa League group stage has been two years in the making.

Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker struck to seal a 2-1 win over Torino and send Wolves through to the main draw 5-3 on aggregate.

Andrea Belotti did briefly level in the second half but the Serie A side rarely looked like overturning a 3-2 first-leg deficit.

The draw for the group stage is made in Monaco on Friday and after battling through six qualifying games Nuno revealed his delight.

He said: “It’s fantastic, isn’t it? The work started two years ago in the Championship, all this work building and building.

“What the boys have done is fantastic. It’s a small squad, it’s very important for us. It’s massive, massive.

“We will sit down and watch the draw and that will be a pleasure for all Wolves fans.”

Daniele Baselli fired wide for Torino as the visitors made the early running but Wolves opened the scoring after half an hour when Jimenez stabbed in Adama Traore’s low cross.

It was the striker’s sixth goal in six Europa League games and seventh of the season.

It settled Wolves but the visitors levelled after 58 minutes when Belotti glanced in Baselli’s fierce free-kick.

But Dendoncker pounced less than two minutes later to fire in off the post after Diogo Jota’s shot was saved by Salvatore Sirigu.

Dendoncker could have added a third with five minutes left, only to be denied by Sirigu.

Victory also extended Wolves’ unbeaten home run to 16 matches, stretching back to January.

Nuno added: “We’ve been performing so well at home for a long time. The fans really push us. They are the 12th man, they really push us and are going to have some big games.

“This is what we want. We want to play and play. We want to improve. We use games as a tool for us to grow as a team.

“We were lucky we went ahead. We didn’t have too many chances on the counter-attack but we defended well.

“You need to work very hard to control Torino. They are a fantastic team with fantastic players.”

Torino boss Walter Mazzarri felt they could have set up a grandstand finish if Soualiho Meite scored a late chance rather than shoot wide with Rui Patricio to beat.

“We scored and then we got confused. We were too euphoric after scoring and we made mistakes,” he said.

“Even then we could have scored. If we’d have scored that we’d have had five minutes to take the tie to extra-time.

“Overall I’m proud of the team and I thought we played better than them.

“We had 15 shots to eight but we probably needed more quality with the last pass or shot.”

 

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