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Wolves: Can Nuno Espirito Santo’s side cope with Europa League commitments?

Raul Jimenez, who scored a late penalty to clinch a draw against Burnley, is one of eight players in the Wolves squad with experience in continental competitions”I think the travel is something special – too many games, too much travel – but we have to adapt.”Minutes after his dramatic stoppage-time penalty rescued a point for…

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Wolves: Can Nuno Espirito Santo’s side cope with Europa League commitments?

Raul Jimenez, who scored a late penalty to clinch a draw against Burnley, is one of eight players in the Wolves squad with experience in continental competitions”I think the travel is something special – too many games, too much travel – but we have to adapt.”Minutes after his dramatic stoppage-time penalty rescued a point for Wolves in a 1-1 draw against Burnley, Raul Jimenez is talking about the demands his team are facing this season as a result of their participation in the Europa League.Nuno Espirito Santo’s side started their competitive campaign on 25 July in the second qualifying round and have already clocked up more than 7,500 Europa League air miles – in addition to visiting China in pre-season for the Asia Cup.They have still not guaranteed their place in the group stages, though they can do exactly that when they face Torino in the second leg of their play-off tie on Thursday, having won 3-2 in Italy last week.Managing the challenges thrown up by a first European campaign in 39 years is a new experience for this Wolves side, while Sunday’s opponents Burnley know only too well the damage it can do to domestic form. Sean Dyche’s side finished seventh in 2017-18 but lost four of their opening five games last season, were still in the bottom three at the start of January and ended up with 14 points fewer than they achieved 12 months earlier.How Wolves are attempting to overcome the Thursday-Sunday ‘slog’Burnley’s experience of struggling last season despite not even making the group stage – they were knocked out in the play-offs by Olympiakos – serves as a stark warning to Wolves.While English sides have enjoyed success in the competition in recent seasons – the Premier League has supplied five finalists in the past seven years and two of the past three winners – there are others who have struggled to cope with its unique demands.Hull City were relegated from the Premier League after competing in the Europa League qualifiers in 2014-15, while Everton’s 2014-15 campaign in Europe’s second-tier competition saw them suffer a 25-point deficit compared to the previous season.Wolves are aware of these figures and have embraced sports science and state-of-the-art technology to ensure their season does not fall flat.Their players had been in the air for around an hour following Thursday’s win in Turin when preparations started for the game with Burnley.During the three-hour flight back to the West Midlands, each player was fitted with a series of pads and electrodes to stimulate the main muscle groups and reduce the risk of flagging against the Clarets.It worked. Sixty-two hours after returning from Italy, and despite a far from polished performance in what was their third game inside a week, Wolves had enough energy to salvage a point thanks to Jimenez’ spot-kick and extended their unbeaten start to the campaign.Wolves embracing Europa League

Jimenez at the Stadio Olimpico Grande last Thursday before the Europa League play-off first leg against Torino which Wolves won 3-2, three days before their 1-1 draw with BurnleyWhile Jimenez spoke of the physical problems that arise from the competition, one former player with Europa League experience says the issues are more wide-ranging.”The early stages of the Europa League are a nightmare,” ex-England and Manchester City defender Micah Richards told BBC Radio 5 Live.”I’ve been to places that I don’t even know how to spell the name of. As a player, you want to play in the big games so if you are playing against someone you have never heard of, I’m not going to say your standards drop, but you don’t look forward to it as much as a big game.”Yet Wolves have embraced the competition.After beating Northern Ireland’s Crusaders in their opening tie, they have since demolished Pyunik Yerevan – each of the 48 Wolves fans who made the 6,000-mile midweek round trip to Armenia’s capital received a letter from captain Conor Coady – before being paired with Torino for a place in the group stage.But the club’s first European campaign in almost four decades has not been without the odd hiccup – despite five wins out of five.Spanish winger Adama Traore arrived at the airport for the flight to Armenia without his passport and missed the first leg. It mattered little as Wolves triumphed 4-0 on their way to an 8-0 aggregate win.One fan, die-hard supporter Steve Bishop, was only able to see the last 18 minutes of the match in Armenia after his flight was delayed.But the novelty for the fans – and the potential the tournament offers for such an upwardly-mobile club – means the mood is one of positivity around Molineux.”We want to embrace the Europa League and compete in all the competitions we are in,” said Nuno.Can Wolves cope with the increased workload?Wolves do not have squad depth such as that boasted by Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United, who are appearing in the group stage.Nuno used just 18 players on the way to finishing seventh in the Premier League last season and half of them – Ryan Bennett, Willy Boly, Coady, Matt Doherty, Jimenez, Jonny, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Rui Patricio – started 30 games or more. This season they are operating with a 21-man squad – something lifelong Wolves fan Steve Burt believes will be an advantage rather than a hindrance.”Obviously being a small squad means we are a tight-knit squad and we don’t have players sitting on the sidelines not getting games, starting to spread bad feeling among the squad,” said Burt.”The medical and sports science teams are absolutely superb and that is helping us to avoid injuries because we go about our training in the right way.”There was a fantastic television documentary about Wolves’ tour to China in the summer and how they analyse the sweat each player loses, so when they are coming off the field every player has their own individual diet or drink to replenish.”It really is down to the finest detail. Nuno’s DNA runs throughout the club.”One factor likely to help them is the fact their squad is sprinkled with players with European experience: Patricio, Boly, Jonny, Moutinho, Neves, Leander Dendoncker, Jimenez and Diogo Jota have all played in continental competitions previously.The same could not be said for Burnley this time last year…Burnley flourishing without European distractionClaiming seventh spot and a shot at the Europa League qualifiers turned out to be a mixed blessing for the Clarets last season. The play-off exit meant their first European adventure in half a century was over by the end of August.Striker Peter Crouch, who joined them in January, remembers players chatting about the experience of playing in the Europa League.”They said the start that Burnley had was not something they were used to and their form was was definitely down to the Europa League,” Crouch told BBC Sport.”Sean Dyche does not like to change his starting XI around much, whether that is the Premier League or Europe, so that is a lot for the players to take on. It was a bit of a shock to some and definitely hindered the start to their season.”You can make excuses about Europe but seeing Wolves against Burnley, they looked a little flatter having played Monday and Thursday nights. “It will prove difficult and for some reason it is very hard to replicate form in the Europa League and Premier League.”With no European distractions to worry about this time around, Burnley have made a solid start and have four points from three games – last season it took them six games to reach that tally.”We’re looking a different animal to last season, which is important at this early stage,” said Dyche.

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‘At this point nothing surprises me’

Suarez has left Barcelona after six yearsLionel Messi says Luis Suarez deserved a better send-off from Barcelona but that he is “no longer surprised” by the club’s behaviour.Earlier this month, Messi said he would stay at Barca despite wanting to leave because he felt he had no option.He added that he felt he had been…

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‘At this point nothing surprises me’

Suarez has left Barcelona after six yearsLionel Messi says Luis Suarez deserved a better send-off from Barcelona but that he is “no longer surprised” by the club’s behaviour.Earlier this month, Messi said he would stay at Barca despite wanting to leave because he felt he had no option.He added that he felt he had been deceived by the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.In a post on Instagramexternal-link, Messi paid tribute to Suarez, saying it will be “strange” to see him “with another shirt and much more to face you”.”You deserved a send-off matching who you are – one of the most important players in the club’s history, achieving important things both as a group and individually. “Not to get thrown out like you have been. But the truth is at this point nothing surprises me.”Uruguayan Suarez scored 198 goals in 283 games to become the third highest goalscorer in Barcelona’s history.The 33-year-old won four La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys, the Champions League and Club World Cup after joining the Catalan giants for £74m from Liverpool in 2014.He has agreed terms on a two-year deal at Atletico with a reduced salary. Atletico will pay a nominal fee of no more than 6m euros for Suarez, which will be based on variables such as Champions League qualification.
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Friday’s gossip column

Manchester United will table a final £90m bid for Jadon Sancho next week in an attempt to prise the England winger, 20, from Borussia Dortmund. (Mirror)external-linkLucas Torreira is on the verge of leaving Arsenal, with both Atletico Madrid and Torino expressing interest in the Uruguay midfielder, 24. (Independent)external-linkAtletico Madrid are confident of a loan deal…

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Friday’s gossip column

Manchester United will table a final £90m bid for Jadon Sancho next week in an attempt to prise the England winger, 20, from Borussia Dortmund. (Mirror)external-linkLucas Torreira is on the verge of leaving Arsenal, with both Atletico Madrid and Torino expressing interest in the Uruguay midfielder, 24. (Independent)external-linkAtletico Madrid are confident of a loan deal for Torreira, which could allow Arsenal to sign the Spanish side’s Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey, 27. (Sky Sports)external-linkAlex Telles believes Porto’s asking price to Manchester United of about 20m euros (£18.3m) is unrealistic because the Brazil left-back, 27, would be a free agent next summer. (Guardian)external-linkManchester City have said that claims they made a £78m bid for Atletico Madrid’s Uruguay defender Jose Gimenez, 25, are not true. (Goal)external-linkMonaco have registered their interest in signing Tottenham’s England midfielder Dele Alli, 24, (90min)external-linkParis St-Germain are preparing to pull out of negotiations to sign Alli on a season-long loan. (Telegraph – subscription required)external-linkChelsea and England forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, 19, is pushing for a loan move away from Stamford Bridge. (Talksport)external-linkBarcelona and Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho, 28, could make a loan move to Arsenal before the transfer window closes. (Star)external-linkRB Leipzig are close to signing a central defender which could facilitate defender Dayot Upamecano leaving the club. Manchester United have been heavily linked with 21-year-old France international. (Star)external-linkNapoli striker Arkadiusz Milik has been offered to Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti, but the Italian is lukewarm on a reunion with the 26-year-old Poland international. (Corriere della Sera – via Inside Futbol)external-linkSheffield United head the queue to sign Liverpool’s English forward Rhian Brewster, 20, with Aston Villa, Brighton and Crystal Palace also interested. (Independent)external-linkWest Ham and Aston Villa are among several clubs interested in signing Chelsea’s England midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 24, on a season’s loan. (Guardian)external-linkSouthampton are also among the clubs interested in Loftus-Cheek, 24. (Mail)external-linkSouthampton are also looking at a deal for Toulouse’s Ivory Coast midfielder Ibrahim Sangare, 22. (Telegraph – subscription required)external-linkEverton and Fulham are interested in signing Cameroon defender Jerome Onguene, 23, from RB Salzburg. (Sportslens)external-linkWest Brom could sign former Arsenal and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor, 36, if they cannot secure another striker before the end of the transfer window. (Sun)external-linkSt Etienne defender Wesley Fofana could move to Leicester City but as part of any deal the French club want the 19-year-old to stay with them on loan for the season. (L’Equipe – via Leicester Mercury)external-linkSouthampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl wants three signings before the close of the transfer window. (Daily Echo)external-linkBayern Munich will not allow French midfielder Michael Cuisance to leave on loan, despite Leeds United and Marseille reportedly being interested in the 21-year-old. (Sport Bild – in German)external-linkThursday’s gossip column Daily Mirror back page
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Uefa Super Cup: Bayern Munich v Sevilla

Got a TV Licence?You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.Find out moreSummaryEuropa League holders Sevilla lead Champions League winners Bayern MunichSevilla’s sixth Super Cup outing since 2006 – have lost each of past four appearances20,000 fans expected in stadium as test eventLive…

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Got a TV Licence?You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.Find out moreSummaryEuropa League holders Sevilla lead Champions League winners Bayern MunichSevilla’s sixth Super Cup outing since 2006 – have lost each of past four appearances20,000 fans expected in stadium as test eventLive Reporting Alex BysouthAll times stated are UKPost updateBayern Munich 0-1 SevillaWell, well, well… who saw that coming?!GOAL – Bayern Munich 0-1 SevillaLucas Ocampos (12 mins)The Sevilla fans can’t watch…Lucas Ocampos takes a huge run-up, stutters slightly and slots calmly past Manuel Neuer.A no-look penalty, cheeky!David Alaba is booked for knocking over Ivan Rakitic to give away the spot kick.Sevilla lead…PENALTYBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaIvan Rakitic is bundled over in the box. Anthony Taylor points straight to the spot!Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaNeat little link up down Sevilla’s right between Suso and Jesus Navas, with the former Manchester City man looking to delve into the Bayern half.The Spanish side have settled since that flying Bayern start.Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaFoul by Serge Gnabry on Lucas Ocampos, and that will give Sevilla a chance to deliver from the left of the Bayern penalty area. Suso looks to whip it in but there are plenty of red shirts in the way to clear.Decent start to this one. Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaBayern have flown out the blocks…Serge Gnabry wriggles down the right and tries to squeeze a ball into Robert Lewandowski’s path, but Sevilla stopper Yassine Bounou can collect.Post updateBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaEarly touch for Leroy Sane, who you would imagine must love playing in this Bayern Munich side.The winger cuts it back across the top of the box but it allows Sevilla to regroup.KICK-OFFBayern Munich 0-0 SevillaRight then, whose record will slip tonight? Treble winners Bayern are unbeaten in 31 matches, while Sevilla have not suffered defeat in 21. Something’s got to give…Time to find out.Can Bayern make it two?Bayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)It might surprise you, it did me at least, to learn that Bayern Munich have only won the European Super Cup once, in 2013. Recent fixtures have been dominated by Spanish sides, who have won nine of the last 11 contests – only Bayern seven years ago and Liverpool in 2019 have interrupted that run.The Champions League/European Cup winner has tended to come out on top in this clash though, winning the trophy on 25 occasions.Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)It actually feels a little strange to see and hear fans in the stadium, has it really been that long?!How’s tat…Bayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Sevilla’s Nemanja Gudelj has the Europa League trophy his side won tattooed on his leg, will he be evening things up with a Super Cup on his left shin after tonight’s match?Tempted to get one myself when we win the Lancashire & Cheshire Division Two Cup…Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesPost updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)There is English interest in Budapest tonight… referee Anthony Taylor is the man in the middle.Sane & Rakitic on showBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Leroy Sane netted on his Bayern debut against Schalke last week, while Ivan Rakitic makes his first start since returning to Sevilla – both have a chance to grab some silverware with their new clubs tonight.Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesGetty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesThe fan debate – safe or ‘experimental rabbits’?The Hungarian government insists it is “safe” for fans to attend today’s game, despite opposition saying they will be “experimental rabbits”.Both Bayern and Sevilla have been allocated 3,000 tickets for the match but far fewer of their fans will attend, with the majority of the 15,500 tickets sold coming from Hungary.European football’s governing body Uefa say fans will be instructed to keep a distance of 1.5m from each other, wear masks and wash and disinfect their hands wherever possible.They also have to undergo body temperature checks at the stadium and anyone over 37.8C will be refused entry.Those supporters arriving from abroad will have to present a ticket and proof of a negative Covid-19 test which must have been conducted in the previous three days and they can only stay in the country for up to 72 hours.The chief of staff for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the match will be “safer than almost any other gathering” with the measures that are in place but others are not convinced.”This experiment is unacceptable,” said opposition Socialist deputy Ildiko Borbely.”They use 14,000 compatriots as experimental rabbits to see how the coronavirus spreads at mass gatherings. We reject exposing Hungary to such danger.”Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)There’s just about time for a quiz before tonight’s Super Cup kicks off. To mark the occasion, we are testing your knowledge of the competition by asking you to name the 24 sides to have won it since it began in 1973.Click here to get quizzical. Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Sevilla’s sporting director Monchi likes winning, and cake…Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Bayern Munich’s warm-up session at their team hotel has the feel of one of those football adverts for sports brands in the late 90s/early 00s…Ronaldo and his Brazil team-mates pegging it around an airport, anyone?Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesGetty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesFans return to watch actionBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Uefa has sold 15,500 tickets for tonight’s game in Budapest, as part of a trial to get fans back into grounds. Match organisers will be broadcasting public announcements on giant screens and TV monitors, reminding fans to put safety first.Uefa said last month up to 30% of the 67,000-seater Puskas Arena would be allowed to be used, though fewer tickets have been sold.Safety precautions include wearing face masks when social distance cannot be respected, queuing lanes marked out at turnstiles and thermal cameras to measure body temperature at entrances.Super six for SevillaBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)I know, it feels like Sevilla feature in the Super Cup every year – in fact, the Spanish side are only the fifth team to
contest the tie at least six times, after Barcelona (9), AC Milan
(7), Real Madrid (7) and Liverpool (6).However, they’ve only won the trophy on one of those appearances, against Barcelona in 2006.Win tonight and Sevilla will claim an eighth European trophy, a run that began with the 2005-06 Uefa Cup – only Barcelona (7) and
Real Madrid (7) have won as many continental titles in that time.Post updateBayern Munich v Sevilla (20:00 BST)Getty ImagesCopyright: Getty ImagesSay what?!Image caption: Say what?!Can anyone stop Bayern?The German giants are on an incredible 22-match winning run and are 31 games undefeated in all competitions, a spell that has seen them wrap up the Bundesliga title, clinch the German Cup and win the Champions League.They then kicked off the new season with an 8-0 thumping of Schalke, just in case anyone thought Hansi Flick’s men might be about to let up…Sevilla, who beat Inter Milan in the Europa League final, kicked their domestic campaign off with a 3-2 win against Levante.to-topLatest PostMatch StatsHome TeamBayern MunichAway TeamSevillaPossessionHome60%Away40%ShotsHome0Away1Shots on TargetHome0Away1CornersHome0Away0FoulsHome2Away2Line-upsBayern Munich1Neuer5Pavard4Süle27AlabaBooked at 12mins21Hernández18Goretzka6Kimmich7Gnabry25Müller10Sané9LewandowskiSubstitutes8Martínez Aguinaga11Cuisance14Zirkzee17Boateng19Davies24Tolisso26Ulreich30Fein35Nübel40Tillman41Richards42MusialaSevilla13Bono16Navas12Koundé20Santos Silva18Escudero8Jordán25Reges10Rakitic7Fernández Saez9de Jong5OcamposSubstitutes1Vaclik3Gómez6Gudelj11El Haddadi14Rodríguez15En-Nesyri19Acuña21Torres22Vázquez24Fernández29Gil31DíazScoresFilter by section. Currently selected: Super CupThursday 24th September 2020
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