The manager of Wolves’ opponents FC Pyunik was so impressed with the Molineux side that he believes they should already be competing in the group stages of the Europa League.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side destroyed the Armenian outfit 4-0 to go through 8-0 on aggregate and reach the Europa League play-off against Torino next Thursday – a two-legged tie they must win to reach the group stages.
Vastly experienced Pyunik manager Alexander Tarkhanov, 64, said: “It is a pity that Wolves play Torino next because both teams belong in the group stage. They were stronger and fitter than us and had more quality.”
Debutant Pedro Neto, Morgan Gibbs White, Ruben Vinagre and substitute Diogo Jota scored the goals after the break to give Wolves a club record biggest aggregate win in European competition and secure a tie against the Italian giants.
Head coach Nuno made nine changes from the side that drew 0-0 at Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday with Manchester United at home looming on Monday, including four full debutants – Under-23s graduate Max Kilman and new signings Jesus Vallejo, Patrick Cutrone and Neto.
All four impressed, with Neto scoring the first goal and making the second, while Cutrone set up the first and had two chances in a hardworking display.
“I thought all my players did a very good job, not just the new players,” said Nuno. “All the players did a very good job. As the game went by we started performing better and the second half was very, very good.
“It wasn’t easy. Pyunik started the game very well again. I’ve spoken to their coach and wish them all the best for the future.
“It was a good game. I think we started the game normally, because some players take more time.”
Gibbs-White scored his first competitive goal for the club but Nuno kept the midfielder’s feet on the ground. “He has to keep on going,” added the boss. “Neto as well – keep going, keep working. It’s a small squad and all the help is good.”
Nuno made multiple changes and the Molineux chief was delighted with how the players adapted. “Because of the shape, the boys were very organised,” he said. “There were some adjustments required but after they felt that first impact, it was very good work.
“But it’s not the first time they’ve played together, there has been many hours together in training sessions.”