Torino 2-3 Wolves
Goals: Diogo Jota (£6.5m), Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m)
Own Goals: Bremer
Assists: Joao Moutinho (£5.5m), Adama Traoré (£5.0m), Romain Saïss (£4.5m)
It was more of the same for Wolves on Thursday night as they won another Europa League tie with goals from Raúl Jiménez (£7.5m) and Diogo Jota (£6.5m).
The forwards teased Fantasy owners still waiting on the first FPL attacking returns this season with their quality once again.
Jota, who should have scored in the first half, drove home close-range finish around the hour-mark, while Jiménez netted after running through the heart of the Torino defence.
Wolves’ latest opponents were certainly the highest quality Wolves have faced so far, after Crusaders and Pyunik were swept aside with relative ease.
The Italian side finished seventh in Serie A last season, which made for an even contest between two well-matched sides.
While Wolves played well, largely controlled the game and certainly deserved to win the tie, owners of their Fantasy assets might be slightly more concerned than after previous European wins this season.
Just three days after a draw with Manchester United, Wolves had to be at the top of their game to get this result, and the compounded effect of those two matches could lead to a subdued performance against Burnley.
Furthermore, the fact that the aggregate score currently stands at 3-2, the tie is far from over and will probably require as much exertion from the fist-choice players next Thursday, just days before the Gameweek 4 trip to Everton.
“It’s far from being over, it’s a close tie. We have to play next week against a very, very tough and a very good team. We played good, we were organised, we stayed in shape, we produced some goals but, as I say, there’s still one game to go and we have to be really, really good to perform again against a very, very good team.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
That said, Nuno Espirito Santo did everything he could to guard against burning out his players in Turin as Wolves’ busy schedule continues.
He made four changes to the side that drew with Manchester United and rested both Jiménez and Jota after their goals, Patrick Cutrone (£5.9m) and Pedro Neto (£5.0m) their replacements.
Jesus Vallejo (£4.9m) came in for Ryan Bennett (£5.0m) at centre-back, Rúben Vinagre (£4.5m) replaced Jonny (£5.5m) at left-back and Romain Saïss (£4.5m) slotted into midfield allowing Rúben Neves (£5.5m) the night off.
Meanwhile, Matt Doherty (£6.0m) travelled with the squad and participated in the warm-down after the match, which means he is probably fit, but played no involvement in the match.
“Everybody’s fine, Matt Doherty is OK. We’ve been preparing since the beginning for the season for this kind of cycle. Two days is difficult, but we are ready to play.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Filling in for Doherty at right wing-back was Adama Traoré (£5.0m) who played 64 minutes before Jonny came on for him.
The wide-man is starting to show increased potential for attacking returns from right wing-back in the event of another Doherty injury.
After adding some much-needed impetus against Manchester United on Monday night, Traoré asked all the questions for Wolves’ second goal in Turin.
He used his pace to get around the back of the Torino defence in the 59th minute and a calmly delivered square ball was driven into the back of the net by Jota.
Traoré’s assist was proof of the player’s increased usefulness to the Wolves team.
Last season, he was largely all about the pace, without much end-product but in recent weeks he has shown much more awareness and quality delivery. That made for an extremely difficult night for Torino left-back Cristian Ansaldi.
“I’m pleased. He helped the team, others did what they had to do. It’s about tasks, it’s about rules, it’s about always being a team. Knowing that, when you know yourselves better and the characteristic is of the player what they can give to the team is important.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
That said, Traoré may still need to make some improvements to the defensive side of his responsibilities at right wing-back.
Almost immediately after Jota had scored Wolves’ second goal, Traoré lost the ball in his area of the pitch trying to play out from the back.
That allowed Ansaldi to get the ball into the box for Lorenzo de Silvestri to score a diving header at the far post after Vinagre had lost the run.
The young full-back was also at fault for Torino’s second goal late-on, which ensured the tie is still very much alive going into next week.
His wild swing at Andrea Belotti caught the striker and brought him down in the penalty box. Torino’s number nine coolly dispatched the spot-kick under Rui Patrício (£5.0m), who guessed the direction of the shot but couldn’t keep it out.
Finally, a mention for central midfielder Joao Moutinho (£5.5m) whose involvement in Wolves’ set-pieces led to another assist on Thursday night.
This time, it was his free-kick at the back posted that was headed into his own net by Torino defender Bremer under pressure from Saïss.
The Portuguese international now has four in five Europa League matches this season, having set up Neves’ wonder-strike against Manchester United.
“(Moutinho) respects himself, he rests and he’s a fantastic player and other players play also. It’s a very, very busy schedule – we have to manage that and always try and make good decisions so the team stays compact and organised. Moutinho is just one case among others that play two games in a row and three games in a row, then we have to decide for the next one. The most important thing is that the players understand that they have to really, really work hard and recover well to be able to cope with such a difficult time and such a difficult schedule.” – Nuno Espirito Santo
Wolves XI (3-5-2): Patrício; Boly, Coady, Vallejo; Vinagre, Moutinho, Saïss, Dendoncker, Traoré (Jonny 64′); Jota (Neto 69′), Jiménez (Cutrone 76′).
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