Nuno Espirito Santo has urged Wolves hat-trick hero Diogo Jota to maintain his standard after his record-breaking exploits in the 4-0 win against Besiktas.
Jota, 23, left Molineux overjoyed after bagging an 11-minute treble – scoring his first in the 58th minute just 77 seconds after coming off the bench – to become the first Wolves player to score three in Europe since Derek Dougan against Academica Coimbra in 1971-72.
Leander Dendoncker scored the other goal as Wolves ran riot, also hitting the woodwork twice through the Belgian and substitute Owen Otasowie.
Jota’s exploits weren’t enough for Wolves to win the group as leaders Sporting Club Braga beat Slovan Bratislava 4-2 away to take the seeded spot.
But the story was all about Jota, who made it five goals in a week after his double in the 2-2 draw at Brighton on Sunday.
Jota has now scored nine goals this season, just one below his tally for Wolves from the whole of last term, leaving his head coach to issue this challenge.
“He must do what he is doing every day – be really competitive, train well and prepare himself, and be like he is on the pitch – always fighting, always looking for space, always running,” said Nuno. “He must keep on keeping going.”
Nuno was delighted his first substitute made such an impact.
“Yes. Of course, when you make something, you try to change the game and find the best solution for the team,” said the boss.
“Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. You want players to come in and make an impact. So well done [to him].”
Nuno was happy to finish runners-up, despite it meaning Wolves will be paired with a group winner and surrender the home leg second in Monday’s 1pm draw for the group of 32.
“It was a tough competition. The first game at home we did not play so good,” reflected Nuno.
“But progressively through the competition we got better. We performed well and it took us to the knockout stages.
“We are delighted to be there. We will put it to one side and wait for the draw.
“Now I’m going to think about Sunday. Let the players recuperate. Let’s see the draw on Monday. Knowing your opponents is when you think about it.”
Nuno was delighted with the display as Wolves made it 10 wins and a draw from their 12 games in Europe this season.
“I’m happy with the whole performance,” he said. “We performed well, we scored goals, we defended well, we were organised it was a well played game. It was very good. I’m happy.
“The first half was very competitive. Besiktas were well organised. We had a lot of the ball but didn’t create too many chances.
“In the second half we were more aggressive on the ball and had more running into space. We managed to score a goal and that opened up more spaces.”