Wolves flier Adama Traore has warned Torino the Europa League experience is making him a better player as he prepares to torment them again.
Three Torino players were booked for fouling the converted Spanish wing back as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side won 3-2 in Turin last week to gain an edge in their bid to make the Europa League group stages.
Traore is adapting to the right wing back role and set up Diogo Jota for Wolves’ second goal in Italy last week, while he impressed coming off the bench in the draws against Manchester United and Burnley.
The 23-year-old is relishing the challenge and believes whatever comes his way, whether it be in the Premier League or in European competition, is only going to enhance him as a player as Wolves prepare for Thursday’s second leg.
“Every experience is good for me, whether it’s Premier League or Europa League or whatever. It will make me a better player,” said Traore.
“You’ll have to ask Torino if I scared them. I am just trying to do my work, to use my speed and skill to help the team. It’s true I was fouled, and when I got to the dressing room, the other players said I had got three players booked. A yellow card makes players nervous because you don’t play the same afterwards.
“I am happy about that and will do anything I can to be the best and help the team. I know defenders will try to kick me, so most of the time I jump. This is what I do before they try to kick me. It is not a problem.”
Now that he is playing as a wing back, Traore is coming up against wingers himself. And he revealed his own experiences about taking players on have stood him in good stead. “I know wingers don’t like being pushed back because I am a winger. I know what they are thinking,” said the one-time £18m club record signing.
“It is also an advantage for me when I have to defend. I know the position when they have the ball on the left or right and try to do skills.
“Football is a mental game also and it is important to know the other player.
“It is difficult for them when I have the speed and I focus on the game to win every battle – this is my mentality.”
Traore revealed head coach Nuno Espirito Santo has taken him under his wing and is trying to better his defensive work to cope better with his new role. “I’ve been working with Nuno especially, on the defensive way, to help me play wing back,” he said. “I will keep working with him and give my best every day.
“Every player wants to play and I am working with him and I trust him, so I will give 100 per cent like I always do, and be the best I can be. I am happy to help the team.”
Nuno identified Traore as a potential wing back some time ago but recognises the need to improve certain parts of his game for him to adapt to the position successfully.
“With Adama we have to focus on some of the areas of his game he has to improve, we work and he focuses on that, with others it’s different,” said the Molineux boss. “The process is always the same – you look at the player and analyse how he can improve to make him better.
“You try to be more focused on that and more determined on those aspects. At the same time, we want to keep the good things he has, like all the players. It’s just a matter of looking at the player and working out what I can do to help him.”
Traore is one of several players whose versatility is vital to the success of the team with such a small squad. Romain Saiss and Leander Dendoncker can play central midfield or centre back, Matt Doherty and Jonny Castro Otto can play both wing back positions, Morgan Gibbs-White can play right wing back, any of the midfield positions or as a number 10, and Diogo Jota and Pedro Neto can operate as wingers as well as central strikers or just behind a centre forward.
“I think we have a very versatile squad – many players can play in different positions inside the shape of the team,” said the boss. “This is one of the things we like and we want to improve on it. All the players have the ability to play in different positions.”