Can Wolves handle the European journey?

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Nuno Espirito Santo says Wolves will return to England in better shape after winning the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Wolves have completed the mission of securing their place in the Europa League group stages but it appears to have cost them in the Premier League.

With the West Midlands outfit travelling across the continent over the months to come, Nuno Espirito Santo has got a real job on his hands to make sure the club don’t fall into the same pitfalls as those gone by.

Burnley are a prime example of what can happen when a squad is not quite up to the rigours of Europa League football and the weekly battles in the Premier League.

The Clarets even fell short in their hopes of reaching the Europa League group stage but their efforts in qualifying had a knock-on effect that saw them struggle in the Premier League last term.

Manager Sean Dyche had a real battle on his hands to avoid the disaster of dropping down to the Championship and it looked like the Europa League qualifiers put them in danger.

That is not to suggest that Wolves could be battling for their Premier League survival although their efforts in Europe could well hinder them kicking on and improving on their seventh-place finish of last season.

Nuno does have more resources available to him than his Burnley counterpart Dyche, which could see them fare better as they get set for the group stages.

Wolves find themselves in Group K alongside the likes of Besiktas, Slovan Bratislava and Sporting Braga.

Those trips to Turkey, Slovakia and Portugal will provide their own individual challenges that could well have a knock-on effect to their Premier League performances.

Arsenal looked like they were coping as they reached the final of the Europa League last season, with manager Unai Emery using a mix of youth and experience.

However, with defeat to Chelsea in the final, the gamble of going so deep into the tournament and not winning it ultimately hindered their Premier League results and therefore the Gunners missed out on Champions League football.

Wolves would do well to secure a Champions League place considering the level of competition for a top-four spot in the Premier League. However, it is a really fine line for Nuno to tread over the coming months.

A mid-table finish in the Premier League this term would have to be seen as step backwards unless Wolves were to shock Europe by overcoming the odds to win the Europa League.