Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell believes the Europa League has provided an added excitement to pre-season at Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground sponsored by Fosun International.
The majority of Nuno Espirito Santo’s players have now returned for pre-season training at St George’s Park, with a busy schedule ahead before the Premier League gets underway. The Europa League begins following a pre-season trip to China and Thelwell insists both elements will help the group grow ahead of what he hopes will be another exciting season at the top level of English football.
On the Europa League effect
“We’re obviously aware of the Europa League and there’s an early start in terms of formal games, but generally we’re trying to treat it as business as usual. Everybody’s back in nice and relaxed, so we’re looking forward to getting started.
“We’re integrating the Europa League games into the fixture plan. Usually we’d have six or seven friendly games before we take on competitive action, but it’s impossible to do it this time around.
“It’s about incorporating the Europa games into the overall plan, building towards the Premier League.”
On pre-season excitement
“We can’t wait. Obviously, the last two years have been incredible in terms of the seasons we’ve had, so it’s very much about trying to hit that repeat button, which I’ve said before.
“With the added spice of the Europa League, I think everybody’s just generally excited about pre-season, going to Asia, the Europa League, and then of course doing the very best we can to do exactly what we did last year in the Premier League.”
On the trip to China
“It’s fantastic for us to be involved, by the very fact our owners are Chinese and based in Shanghai. It’s a big deal for everybody, we want it to be a great environment and a great tournament, but also want it to be a roaring success.
“It’s something brand new for us, to be able to travel to Shanghai as a team, although many of us have been individually before, so it’s another exciting part of what’s being achieved here.
“We’re under no allusions that it’s going to be a busy time, there’s going to be lots for the team and staff to contend with, but it’s something we’re looking forward to.”