Wolves comment: The two things which would make season a success
This international break allows us to reflect on what has happened so far this season – and think about what lies ahead for Wolves.
Making the Europa League group stage, make no mistake, is a massive positive for the club.
Getting there with a perfect record, winning all six qualifying ties, you cannot help but be proud – and excited for the upcoming clashes with Besiktas, Braga and Slovan Bratislava in Group K.
The European journey continuing has come at a cost, though. Wolves are winless in the Premier League after four games, with the quick turnaround from the Thursday night ties proving difficult to adjust to – more so mentally than physically.
It was not the easiest of starts in the league, don’t get me wrong – facing Leicester, Manchester United, Burnley and Everton. But it was very much fair to expect Nuno Espirito Santo’s side to beat at least one of them.
Instead, Wolves picked up draws against the first three before losing 3-2 at Everton last weekend.
So, what should we all be holding out for this campaign – the one that follows finishing seventh in the top flight and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals?
Well, focusing on Europe first, there is every right to be optimistic, although Turkish team Besiktas, Portuguese outfit Braga and Slovakian side Bratislava are no pushovers.
After all, Wolves are currently fifth favourites with the bookmakers to go all the way in the competition, which makes them favourites to win the group.
The game at Besiktas is likely to be played out in a hostile atmosphere and the one at Bratislava is currently set to have no fans because of a Uefa sanction against the Sky Blues, but those are things Wolves can overcome.
The triumph at Torino before a top showing to see it through at Molineux was a clear example of embracing the pressure, and extra limelight, which comes with Europa involvement.
Wolves’ large Portuguese contingent should have a pretty good idea of what Braga will bring to the table, too.
Therefore, anticipating anything else but getting to the knock-outs is tough.
Maybe, though, we should temper our expectations when it comes to the league.
Of course, it would be so satisfying to see Wolves match or better how they did in the top flight last term.
And with Chelsea under a transfer embargo and Manchester United also amid a transition period, you can see why some supporters fancied Nuno’s charges to break into the top six this campaign.
But, for me, at least, getting out of Group K and then ending up in the league’s top 10 would absolutely be fine and dandy.
A run in either the League or FA Cup would be nice as well, but, for a fair few, they are taking a back seat to Europe.
You want to make progress season upon season, and Europa advancement with a top-half finish would represent just that.