As Wolves spend the next three weeks preparing for a first crack at European football in almost 40 years, Diogo Jota is turning to the experience within the squad.
Jota himself has tasted the Champions League with Porto and Joao Moutinho lifted the Europa League with the same club – two of ten players at Nuno Espirito Santo’s disposal with European experience. Following the trip to China, all focus will be on Wolves’ first double-headed qualifying tie, where Jota insists know-how will be crucial to the club’s fortunes.
On the Europa League
“It’s special because I came to the club in the Championship and I’ve grown up with the club, so it’s a special moment to be back in a European competition, and for me because it’s my first time playing in the Europa League.
“In the knockout stages with two legs, that’s unfamiliar, so it’s always tricky and you need some experience to deal with it. It’s a different game, when you know you’ve already got a result and you know a draw is enough, but normally if you play to draw, you lose so it’s a good thing to learn.
“We have people with a lot of experience and they know what it is. The manager has experience, so I think we’ll go through to the group stage.”
On winning the Nations League
“It was a privilege to be there with all of them. It was my first major competition, and to be at home, in my city, was a great thing for me and sharing the dressing room with the players normally I saw on the TV.
“It was special and we won the tournament so I’ll always remember it. Even though I didn’t play, the experience was really good and I need to work hard this season to be there again.”
On the desire for his first cap
“A football player always wants the next step and of course now I want to play, but I know to play I need to be there and that’s a hard thing because fortunately Portugal have a lot of talent, many players that can get in the squad, so I need to work hard to be there.
“The last game was on the 10th, of course I had some rest to prepare myself for pre-season, so I could start training with the team because on Friday we have our first game.”