Wolverhampton Wanderers were a true trailblazer when it came to the development of the Champion’s League and Europa League in their earliest forms.
However, bringing European football back to Molineux came far more quickly than many fans could have hoped with Wolves taking the English Premier League by storm in their first year back in the top flight. The question facing manager, Nuno Espirito Santo is can the club from the English Midlands juggle their Premier League commitments alongside their desire to move through the group stages of the Europa League.
Many fans expected Wolves to add a number of players to their squad in the summer but there was little activity at the club as the team prepared for their first Europa League season. Two weeks ago, Wanderers faced Burnley, a side who entered the Europa League qualifying rounds in a similar fashion to Wolverhampton at the start of the 2018-19 season. Burnley stands as a warning for every club making their way to the Europa League qualifying rounds beginning in mid-July as the Lancashire club took six games to record their first victory in the 2018-19 Premier League season.
Manager Nuno Espirito Santo saw his team fall to defeat against Everton on Sunday after failing to build on coming from behind twice to lose 3-2 at Goodison Park. Some pundits gave their view that many players looked tired by the end of the game and were struggling to contain a pacey Everton attack, but the head coach sees things a little differently. Espirito Santo believes he has enough players at Molineux to handle the demands of the English Premier League and the Europa League with 60 players at his disposal.
The head coach did state his players needed rest over the international break and said those who were not playing for their nation would be allowed some time off. Wolves have been left with only three points to show for their four games in the English Premier League to date and the resources on hand for the club look to be too limited to cope with a battle on two front. Three draws in the league come after a perfect run through the qualifying rounds of the Europa League that should now allow the club to return to full fitness over the international break.
Despite the claims of the manager, Wanderers did not have the energy or strength to cope with the pace and power of an exciting Everton team. While most fans are unhappy to see the international break arrive so early in the new season, the Wolverhampton faithful are hoping a little rest will turn things around for their team and they will not suffer a similar fate to Burnley and Everton in previous seasons. Former Everton coach Ronald Koeman maintains the problems he had at Goodison Park following their Europa League campaign of two seasons ago resulted in him being sacked.
If Wolverhampton Wanderers continues to impress on a Thursday night in the Europa League more may need to be asked of super-agent Jorge Mendes if the club is to avoid a tough season similar to those experienced by other mid-table teams in the last few years.