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Wolves boss Nuno unconcerned over Portuguese officials for Torino tie

Nuno Espirito Santo insists there should be no concerns from Torino about their Europa League tie against Wolves being staffed by Portuguese officials.
The Italian club and fans are sceptical that Portuguese referee Artur Soares Dias, 40, will take charge of the play-off first leg on Thursday in the 27,000-capacity Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, assisted by fellow countrymen Rui Tavares and Paulo Soares, with Joao Pinheiro the fourth official.
Wolves have a host of Portuguese connections, from head coach Nuno and his backroom staff to four players who could be in the starting line-up – Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Diogo Jota – while two other Portuguese, Ruben Vinagre and Pedro Neto, could also feature.
Nuno said: “We represent the cause of Wolverhampton which is an English team. Our native language here is English. Everyone speaks English to each other, there is no issue here. Come on, let’s play the game.
“Before the game we never speak about the referees. It is the best way for him to deal with the game normally and I don’t want to create any sort of pressure. It’s a normal game with good referees, good teams – let’s play.”
Torino’s officials and media have expressed surprise at the decision, especially as UEFA’s chief refereeing officer is Roberto Rosetti from Turin.
Soares Dias and his family received death threats by individuals who it is claimed the referee identified as being part of Super Dragões, an official supporters group of Porto, on January 5 2017, two days before officiating the Primeira Liga match between Paços de Ferreira and Porto. The referee reported the incident to the police against ‘unknown individuals’.
Ironically, Nuno was in charge of Porto at the time and Boly, Neves and Jota were players there, the latter after starting his career with Paços de Ferreira. Neves and Jota played in the match, which ended in a 0-0 draw, while Boly was an unused substitute.
Torino’s ex-Watford boss Walter Mazzarri responded: “I will give my thoughts after the match. What is important is there is no news about referees after the match. If there is no news and there is no talking about it, it means they have done an excellent job.”
A statement from UEFA said: “It has also been the case in previous UEFA matches that the appointed referee shares the same nationality as some of the players and/or coach of one of the teams. We were aware that the English club Wolverhampton has Portuguese players and coaches, but we trust that the best available referee has been appointed for this match.”