Belfast Telegraph

Moutinho acknowledges Europa League has affected Wolves’ domestic form

Black Country team bid to break their Premier League duck against bottom club Watford.

Joao Moutinho has made five Premier League starts for Wolves this season (Nick Potts/PA)
Joao Moutinho has made five Premier League starts for Wolves this season (Nick Potts/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho admitted the club’s Europa League exploits have affected their Premier League form.

Wolves’ recent home defeat to Braga was their seventh Europa League tie since August and they will chase their first Premier League win of the season against Watford at Molineux on Saturday.

“It’s a bit more difficult because the coach needs to manage the players,” Moutinho told the club’s official website.

“It’s not the same if we play Saturday to Saturday. You have more days to recover then and more days to work for the game and with the Europa you can’t.

“You need to recover and play after two to three days. That’s what we do, we adapt, we try to do our best.

“We try to give everything in all the games, but we know it’s not always possible.”

Wolves were the Premier League’s surprise package last season, finishing seventh, and also reached the FA Cup semi-finals, losing out to Saturday’s opponents after squandering a 2-0 lead.

But Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have taken only four points from their first seven Premier League games this time round and Watford’s visit is a clash between the bottom two.

“They are not in a good position, we are one position higher,” Moutinho said. “It’s an important game for both teams – we know that, we’ve worked hard this week to be prepared for the game.

“We’re going to try to win. Watford are a good team with good players, but in our home we want to give the supporters a win.”

Moutinho, who has started in all bar two of Wolves’ Premier League matches this season, insisted the alarm bells are not yet ringing at Molineux.

“The most important thing is that we keep trying and we keep working hard, like we do all week and I think the results are getting better,” he added.

“We can’t panic, because we want to win. We don’t win but we don’t lose much. We have lost two, but have drawn four.

“The next game is a tough game but we have the capacity to win.”

Moroccan defender Romain Saiss is back in contention after missing the midweek Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out win over Reading through suspension.

Wolves have confirmed midfielder Meritan Shabani sustained a serious knee injury during his debut in that game.

Shabani, 20, signed from Bayern Munich in the summer, will have surgery after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament and could miss the rest of the season.

Another summer recruit, fellow midfielder Bruno Jordao, who arrived in August from Lazio, also sustained an injury on his debut on Tuesday night and is expected to be out for several weeks with ankle ligament damage.

PA

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