Nuno Espirito Santo is hoping for a positive performance from his Wolves side as reward for just 200 supporters being allowed in to Slovan Bratislava’s stadium for Thursday’s Europa League match.
The head coach, who confirmed Ryan Bennett didn’t travel with the team to Slovakia due to a groin injury he picked up in Saturday’s Premier League draw with Southampton, admitted his disappointment at the small allocation of Wolves supporters that will be allowed into Tehelne Pole following a ‘behind closed doors’ punishment placed on the home side.
On threat posed by Slovan’s players
“It’s going to be a tough game. We had chance to analyse the games of Slovan, they are a good team with good players and did well in their games before the group stage and we expect a tough challenge.
“It’s a new challenge for us in a competition that is tough, but we want to embrace it. Tomorrow is going to be a tough challenge against a good team.
“We have a chance to analyse all the teams we face. In the qualifiers when we were playing against not so big teams, we also had this footage to analyse.
“We know Slovan very well. We saw how they played last season, we saw them in the group stages. We know Slovan. Slovan, for sure, knows us. There’s no team that we’re going to face that we don’t know. There’s no such thing in football.”
On small allocation of Wolves supporters
“We are disappointed because our fans cannot be here, only 200, I don’t quite understand why, but we’ll just move on and play the game.
“It’s not quite understandable why. If they allowed young children to come to the stadium but not allow all the [away] fans that we want. Our fans wish to be here and support the team, so it’s a decision that we have to try to understand, but at the same time it’s a big disappointment because we know Europe is one of the things our fans enjoy, so it’s sad for them.
“Hopefully we can compete well and have a good performance for those 200 supporters who are here as well as those that are back home.
“I’m sure and I’m positive that there will be thousands of them here, but that’s what disappoints me. If it’s an advantage for Slovan or not, I don’t know.
“But I’m sure Slovan as a club are not happy that their own fans are not here. I hope this serves as an example so these young people that are going to be here tomorrow, someone should explain to them why they are here, so they can grow up to know that racism is the most absurd thing in life.”
On punishment for racism by supporters
“I don’t want to decide the punishments. UEFA make these decisions and the clubs are sent it. This is how it goes.
“What I really don’t like is for things to happen. Not only football but in life. Racism is a social problem and I think it’s up to us to try and eradicate it from football and from society.
“But any punishment is not enough because racism is such a stupid thing. I cannot quite understand it.”
On young players joining the squad
“We have Ryan, Pedro and Jordao out – they cannot be with us, but like I always say the whole squad is very competitive and we have the back-ups of the under-23s.
“TP [Taylor Perry] and Chem [Campbell] are here with us in case we need them and that’s our philosophy – we embrace every challenge and every competition because we are truly confident on that.
“We want to provide our young players with a determination and provide them an environment of high competition. Hopefully is future is waiting, so we have not only him [Campbell], it could be Terry Taylor, it could be a lot of them.
“We always try to build like we’re only one team. It’s good for them to be here and if we need them, they are ready.”