Dendoncker talks up European chances

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Leander Dendoncker feels he has finally adapted to English football and hopes to be with Wolves again next season.

Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker is hoping to enjoy a run in Europe this season but admits it will be tough to reach the group stage.

The West Midlands outfit are on the verge of sealing their place in the play-off round in the Europa League after easing to a 4-0 win over Armenian side Pyunik away from home on Thursday.

Raul Jimenez bagged a brace with Matt Doherty and Ruben Neves also chipping in to pretty much kill off the tie for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

After beating Crusaders 6-1 on aggregate in the previous round, Wolves couldn’t have asked for a better start upon their return to Europe.

But things are likely to get much tougher in the play-off round with Serie A side Torino likely to be their next opponents.

Dendoncker, who signed for Wolves on a permanent basis this summer, believes they can do well in the competition but admits they must hold their nerve in the next round.

“I think we can do well in the competition. First we have to try to go into the group stage and it won’t be easy, because if we go through the next game is probably against Torino who would be a very tough opponent,” He told the Express & Star.

Nuno’s men only played two pre-season games, beating Newcastle and Manchester City in the Far East, and they have used the early rounds of the Europa League to continue building up their fitness levels.

Only time will tell as to whether that approach will work for Wolves as they look to avoid being off the pace when their Premier League season kicks off on Sunday.

Burnley adopted a different tact last season by playing four pre-season games around their Europe League commitments. That backfired as they were overworked and looked fatigued by the time they played their opening league fixture of 2018-19.

A small squad for Wolves could also prove problematic if they do reach the group stages of the Europa League but Nuno has previously hinted that he is happy with his options.

He added Patrick Cutrone, Bruno Jordao, Jesus Vallejo and Pedro Neto to the first-team set-up this summer, while also tying Dendoncker and Jimenez down to permanent contracts.

Wolves face a tough test in their first league game of the season when they travel away face Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

Dendoncker is relishing the chance to return to Premier League football off the back of their solid pre-season efforts.

He added: “We’ll see, we’ll take it game by game, we have a very important game on Sunday (against Leicester) too.

“Things have gone well in pre-season. We played a lot of games already and there are a lot coming up. I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

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