Nuno Espirito Santo reflects on Wolves win at Torino in Europa League

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Nuno Espirito Santo warned Wolves’ place in the Europa League group stage is not yet secure, despite winning 3-2 away to Torino.

Wolves will welcome the Serie A side to Molineux next Thursday with an advantage carved out in Italy by a Bremer own goal and second-half strikes from Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez.

But Wolves boss Nuno said at his post-match press conference: “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, like I say, there’s still one game to go.

“We have to be really, really good to perform again against a very, very good team.”

This was already Wolves’ seventh game of the season, with their Europa League commitments meaning they have been playing competitive football since July 25.

Nuno, however, retained seven of the side that had started the 1-1 Premier League draw against Manchester United at Molineux on Monday.

Among those who kept their place was Joao Moutinho, the 32-year-old Portugual midfielder who has started every one of Wolves’ seven games.

“He respects himself, he rests, he’s a fantastic player and other players play also,” Nuno said.

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.

“We have to recover well to be able to cope with such a difficult time and such a difficult schedule.”

Wolves opened the scoring just before half-time when Bremer was credited with getting the final touch in a crowded goalmouth to Moutinho’s flighted free-kick.

Jota doubled the lead by finishing the impressive approach work of Adama Traore before Lorenzo De Silvestri immediately pulled one back for the hosts.

Jimenez restored Wolves’ two-goal lead with his fifth Europa League goal of the season, but Andrea Belotti converted a last-minute penalty to give Torino hope heading into the second leg.

On the performance of Traore – whose end product has often been questioned, even if his pace and power has not – Nuno said: “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 of the player is what they can give to the team is important.”

Torino goalscorer De Silvestri told his club’s website: “We lost, but we have to think about our two goals scored.

“They still give us hope for the return match.

“They’re a very physical team, they put us in difficulty under that perspective.”

Copy provided by Press Association Sport

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Thiago Silva insists PSG have to improve after loss at Rennes

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Captain Thiago Silva insisted it was “not the real Paris St Germain” after his side suffered an early first defeat of the new Ligue 1 campaign as Rennes came from behind to win 2-1 at Roazhon Park.

PSG had taken the lead in the 36th minute when Edinson Cavani knocked in a stray pass across the penalty area from Rennes captain Damien Da Silva.

However, the hosts rallied and drew level just before half-time through a fine shot on the turn by M’Baye Niang.

Rennes made a fast start to the second half as Romain Del Castillo headed in after 48 minutes and they could have added another when Jeremy Morel’s volley came back off the post.

PSG – again with Neymar left out of the squad as speculation continues over his future – offered few clear-cut chances in the second half.

Rennes, though, continued their 100 per cent start to the new campaign and sit third on six points alongside Lyon and Nice.

Brazilian defender Silva maintained the PSG squad will regroup.

“It was a difficult match, it’s hard to talk, we started well and then we lost our concentration a little bit, which is a shame,” he said on French broadcaster Canal+.

“At the beginning of the second half, it’s a goal we do not normally concede, but we were not attentive.

“Sometimes it is like that, but this was not the real Paris St Germain that we know.

“We have to look forward, think about the next game, try to be better and forget everything that happened here.

“It’s the beginning of the championship, they were stronger. Now, we have to try to improve and prepare well.”

Neymar was again conspicuous by his absence from the PSG squad, with both former club Barcelona and Spanish rivals Real Madrid reportedly looking to push through a deal ahead of the transfer deadline.

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel, though, maintains the uncertainty surrounding the Brazilian cannot be used as an excuse for Sunday’s defeat.

“Neymar situation weighed on the team? No, I do not think so,” he said to Canal +.

“It is still the same, but the transfer window is still open for more than 10 days.

“Do you think this thing will be settled tomorrow or the day after tomorrow? I do not think so.

“But no matter what I think things are not settled for the moment, and it is not possible for him to play because he has not done any training like the others, the risk of injury is too great.”

Tuchel accepted his team had come up short of the required performance levels.

“We had problems in the challenges, both offensively and defensively,” he said.

“We forgot how to close out the match after taking the first goal and then make a gift to Rennes before half-time.

“It is not an easy situation, many of our players are not 100 per cent (fit), we need time.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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See Rafa Silva and Pizzi get among goals as Benfica defeat Belenenses

David Cooper 18/08/2019
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Benfica defeated Belenenses 2-0 in Round 2 of Portugal’s Primeira Liga on Saturday.

Rafa Silva and Pizzi, who scored his third goal of the season, found the back of the net in the second half.

Benfica with six points leads the Portuguese Primeira Liga after two rounds.

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