MX23RW : Friday, November 15 17:50:26| >> :600:623229:623229:
Nov 7, 2019 at 8pm UK at ​Molineux Stadium (Wolverhampton, West Midlands)
Attendance: 29,789
WolvesWolverhampton Wanderers
1-0
Slovan Bratislava
Jimenez (92')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Nuno Espirito Santo: 'Wolves embracing Europa League challenge'

Nuno Espirito Santo: 'Wolves embracing Europa League challenge'
© Reuters
Wanderers have won their last three matches in the Europa League after beginning with a defeat in Group K.

Nuno Espirito Santo believes Wolves are growing into the Europa League after taking a big step towards qualification for the knockout stages with victory against Slovan Bratislava.

Thursday's 1-0 win kept Nuno's team in second spot in Group K, a point behind Braga, whom they play next in Portugal, and extended their lead over third-placed Slovan to five points with two matches remaining.

It was the first time Wanderers had won three successive games in a major European competition since their 1971/72 UEFA Cup campaign when they won six in a row en route to reaching the final.

"It was a very important night for everyone. I think Molineux enjoys European football – we are delighted," said the Wolves boss, whose side lost their opening group game at home to Braga in September.

"We have responded and we embraced the challenge, it doesn't change. It is about preparing to compete. We have to improve and grow a lot, it is about growing during the competition.

"Each moment that we compete is a moment that we try to make new things, new solutions and new lines – it is a new process. It is growing with the competition."

Wolves will seal a place in the last-32 if they avoid defeat against Braga later this month. Wanderers need just one more point from their remaining two games due to their superior head-to-head record against Slovan.

However, Nuno is not taking anything for granted and said: "We are always confident but we cannot expect things to happen, we have to make them happen."

Next up for Wolves is a midlands derby against Aston Villa on Sunday and Nuno insisted that preparations would begin immediately.

"Sunday is a big game at Molineux, a big derby, and we prepare now. We are going to be ready for it," he said.

"We play Sunday, we focus on that now. We sleep, we train, we prepare and embrace the challenge, and the next challenge is Sunday. It is a big one."

Victory on Thursday came courtesy of Raul Jimenez's injury-time header. Prior to the goal there was a lengthy stoppage when Kenan Bajric required medical attention after Jimenez kicked the defender in the head attempting an overhead volley.

Bajric was eventually lifted safely on to a stretcher and carried from the field. When play resumed, the fourth official indicated that there would be 12 added minutes.

Asked if the injury and the delay affected his players, Slovan boss Jan Kozak said: "I don't want to speculate.

"The home players also had a pause as well and they scored a goal. It could have been different for us, but I don't want to speculate."

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Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo on October 24, 2019
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2Leicester CityLeicester128222982126
3Chelsea1282227171026
4Manchester CityMan City1281335132225
5Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd12453139417
6Arsenal124531617-117
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd124441612416
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves123721615116
9Bournemouth124441515016
10Burnley124351718-115
11Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124351517-215
12Crystal Palace124351016-615
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle124351118-715
14Tottenham HotspurSpurs123541817114
15Everton124261318-514
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham123451420-613
17Aston Villa123271720-311
18Watford12156823-158
19Southampton122281129-188
20Norwich CityNorwich122191128-177

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