Big Sam doubts Wolves Euro hopes
Sam Allardyce thinks Wolves will struggle to qualify for Europe again this season. Is he right?
Speaking on Talksport on Tuesday, Allardyce said: “I don’t think Wolves will do it because they’re in Europe for the first time in a long, long time and that will take a toll on the squad, as we saw with Burnley last year. It’ll be difficult for them.”
Breaking into the top six will be a tough task for any team but Allardyce feels this year there is a real opportunity to grasp as he says Chelsea and Manchester United look vulnerable.
The Stamford Bridge club lost Eden Hazard over the summer and were unable to sign any replacements.
United have made a poor start to the season, and Alllardyce isn’t convinced they have a strong enough or experienced enough squad to be dead-certs for a top six spot.
The former England boss believes his former club Everton look the most likely candidates to make the breakthrough but doubts Wolves’ chances.
The Molineux club did finish best of the rest in seventh spot last year to earn a place in Europa League qualifying.
That can take a toll on a side – as Allardyce points out Burnley felt last season – and the early signs suggest it has had an impact on Wolves as they have managed just three points from their opening four league games.
Allardyce is a man who speaks from experience. During his time as Bolton Wanderers boss he guided them into the UEFA Cup, but they failed to qualify the following season as balancing European and domestic commitments proved too much of an ask for his squad at the time.
Wolves were fairly active in the transfer market over the summer but went for quality over quantity. In the long-term, this has to be the best strategy but for the season ahead it does feel like an opportunity missed by boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
There is an argument to suggest Nuno could have added a few younger players on loan deals or perhaps scoured the free agent market a bit more for players to use in the cup competitions to ease the burden on his first-team regulars, but he doesn’t seem the type of manager to go for quick-fixes.
Only time will tell as to whether or not Allardyce is correct and Wolves will struggle to challenge the top order again but if they were to go all the way and win the Europa League, then Wolves would find themselves dining at Europe’s top table in the Champions League next year.
In that scenario, wherever Wolves finish in the Premier League would almost be irrelevant providing it wasn’t in the bottom three.