Match Preview: Torino v Wolverhampton Wanderers


The Wolves are back. That has been the cry around Molineux since the Black Country side returned to the top flight flush with Chinese money and super agent Jorge Mendes’ contact book to finish seventh last season.

Raucous packed houses in The Black Country for seemingly run-of-the-mill qualifiers against the minnows of Crusaders and Pyunik demonstrated what a special place European nights occupy for fans of a club entwined with the foundation of the European Cup.

As Wolves recover from a demanding Premier League assignment against Manchester United on Friday and keep an eye on the visit of Burnley on Sunday, manager Nuno Espírito Santo can be expected to be pragmatic and ring the changes to a matchday squad unchanged in the opening two PL matches of the season. However, the enthusiasm of that Molineux crowd for more European occasions is likely to prevent the Portuguese from taking Thursday night’s assignment too lightly.

Former Watford manager Walter Mazzarri has no such competing distractions as Serie A does not kick-off until Sunday’s visit of Sassuolo, the concern for him will surround the match-readiness of his players for the big occasion after what appear to have been routine Europa victories against Debrecen and Shakhtyor Soligorsk.

Team news

Wolves right wing-back Matt Doherty was rated 50/50 in midweek after suffering illness since playing in Friday’s 1-1 draw against United.

Walter Mazzarri

Asked about the fact the match will be refereed by Portuguese official Artur Soares Dias, given Wolves’s extensive Portuguese links, Mazzarri played a straight bat, albeit with just a hint of menace. “As you all know, I never discuss referees before the game. I will give my opinion afterwards. I always do this. After the match is the time to evaluate your team, your opponents and ultimately, the referee.”

Patrick Cutrone

The Wolves striker, who joined from Milan at the end of July for £16.2 million, told La Gazzetta dello Sport Torino will be difficult opponents as they share many characteristics with his new employers. “It will be tough,” said Cutrone. “Il Toro are strong. We have many things in common: passionate supporters, character, pride and a sense of belonging [in European competition.”


Wolves and Torino have never met in a competitive fixture but the Black Country outfit’s only previous European action against Italian opponents saw them record a 1-1 draw in the same stadium where they will play on Thursday night. That result at what is now known as the Stadio Olimpico sealed a 3-2 aggregate win over Juventus in the UEFA Cup quarter-final in the 1971-72 season.

Expected line-ups

Torino (3-5-2) – Sirigu; Bonifazi, N’koulou, Silva Nascimento; De Silvestri, Lukic, Rincón, Meité, Ansaldi; Belotti, Zaza.

Wolves (3-5-2) – Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Traore, Gibbs-White, Saiss, Moutinho, Vinagre; Neto, Cutrone.


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