Wolves backed for Europa glory

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Nuno Espirito Santo feels the Far East trip has been good for Wolves both on and off the pitch as they prepare to face Manchester City.

Wolves are being backed to go all the way in the Europa League - by a man who represented the club in the 1972 UEFA Cup final.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men finished seventh last season to book their spot in the opening rounds of Europe’s second tier tournament and two-legged wins over Crusaders, Pyunik and Torino have seen them earn their place in the pool stages.

Despite their achievements to date, Wolves have been handed a tough draw in Group K where they will face Besiktas and Slovan Bratislava.

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However, it is 2011 beaten finalists Braga first up at Molineux next Thursday and Nuno will be desperate to see his side get off to a winning start.

Before that they face Chelsea on Saturday in the Premier League and it will be interesting to see how the boss rotates his troops.

Rotation was not as a big an issue back in Kenny Hibbitt’s day, the former midfielder making 466 appearances for the club over a 16-year period.

Two of those outings came in the 1972 UEFA Cup final back in the days when it was a two-legged affair.

In an all-English encounter, Tottenham edged the tie 3-2 on aggregate and Wolves have failed to emulate those heights in the subsequent period.

These days the tournament is a more long-winded affair, with the group stages and then four knockout rounds before the final.

Such an arduous schedule has tripped up some of Europe’s best clubs in the past but Hibbitt believes Wolves are well-equipped for their adventure.

So much so, the Bradfordian is backing his former club to go all the way to May’s final in Gdansk and win it.

“They’ve entered the competition thinking they can win it, I’m sure. I think they can win it,” he is quoted as saying by the Express & Star.

“It’s a great achievement getting there, and I think we can win it, definitely.”

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