Besiktas v Wolves preview: Wide open tie on banks of Bosphorus
Wolves got a much-needed boost last weekend, grabbing their first Premier League win of the season.
And now the onus is on getting off the mark in the Europa League, writes Joe Edwards.
Tonight’s Group K tie against Besiktas, in Istanbul, is an interesting and thoroughly important one.
As, despite being earmarked as the sides most likely to make it to the knockout stages, they each enter the clash desperate for victory.
While Wolves lost their opener 1-0 to Braga at Molineux, the Turkish team fell to a 4-2 defeat at Slovan Bratislava – who were presumed to be the group’s whipping boys.
So, it is wide open. Braga kick-off against Bratislava at the same time as Wolves begin at Besiktas (5.55pm UK time).
And if there is a winner from Braga v Bratislava, and Wolves are downed at Vodafone Park, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will have quite the obstacle to overcome.
They would still have a chance of extending their European journey of course, and they have thrived in the face of adversity before, but three points would certainly make things a whole lot easier.
Adama Traore – going to the ground for the first time – is staying focused on nothing but coming out on top.
“It’s my first visit. Everyone says about how they (the fans) push (the team), so I’m happy to have the opportunity to play there,” said Traore.
“To help the team would be so good. Any player, especially me, likes to play in these grounds.
“We want to win every game, so it would be nice to win there and keep moving.”
The Spaniard is hoping to start after linking up with Matt Doherty to great effect in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Watford.
Traore was at right-wing in the 3-4-3 formation, while Doherty scored the opener and played a part in the second – a Daryl Janmaat own goal – from right-wing-back.
Skipper Conor Coady, meanwhile, is set to be at the heart of the defence after a solid showing against the Hornets.
And he thinks if Wolves re-produce what they did in that game, they have every chance of beating Besiktas.
“Manage yourself within the game – I think you saw that on Saturday,” said Coady.
“You saw us absorb pressure and how we want to do things.
“That is how we want to play. It is how we have played for many years, and we need to stick to the things we are good at.
“I thought the boys were outstanding on Saturday.
“We probably could have kept it more of what we like, but we will learn from that.
“We are still learning from every game. Hopefully, we keep on improving.”
This is Wolves’ first-ever meeting with a Turkish side in Uefa competition.
Besiktas, on the other hand, have played 20 matches against English clubs – winning six, drawing five, losing nine.
They finished third in the Turkish Super Lig last term.
Wolves likely XI (3-4-3): Patricio; Boly, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Otto; Traore, Jimenez, Neto.