Espanyol v Wolves Team News
Wolves take a 4-0 advantage into the second leg of their Europa League clash with Espanyol on Thursday, but Nuno Espirito Santo insists the tie is not over.
A Diogo Jota hat-trick and a superb strike from Ruben Neves helped Wolves to a commanding victory during last week’s first leg at Molineux and, barring a complete collapse, the Premier League club should be in for a comfortable return match in Catalonia.
However, Nuno is not buying into the suggestion that the round-of 32-tie is over and has instead called for his players to approach the match as if the score was still 0-0, as he does not want to run the risk of any complacency.
“The approach is the same. It doesn’t mean anything what we did before,” Nuno said at his pre-match press conference. “This is a new game, a new challenge, new things will happen, so we have to compete well.”
Nuno does not plan to make wholesale changes to his starting XI and is taking a strong squad to the RCDE Stadium, with wing-back Jonny being the only first-teamer left at home after he picked up a heavy knock in Sunday’s Premier League victory over Norwich.
Getting familiar with the surroundings…
— Wolves (@Wolves) February 26, 2020
“Jonny is not OK,” Nuno added. “You saw the images, there was a very strong impact. He’s in pain, but he’s going through the normal procedures and hopefully he doesn’t stay out very long.”
Jonny’s absence could open the door for Daniel Podence to make his first start for the club. The winger has made three substitute appearances since his January arrival from Olympiakos.
Espanyol are bottom of the La Liga standings and lost 2-1 to Real Valladolid on Sunday. They are likely to make changes for Thursday’s match, with domestic survival their main priority.
Forward Raul De Tomas is close to making a return from injury, but he is unlikely to be risked. However, defender David Lopez could feature because he is suspended for Espanyol’s league clash with Atletico Madrid this weekend.