Wolves will be counting on the knockout experience of Euro 2016 winners Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho to land another major surprise in the Europa League.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side go into this weeks’ finals in Germany as underdogs and may have to beat Sevilla, Manchester United and Inter Milan to land their first European trophy – on top of which their season has already lasted nearly 13 months.
Yet in goalkeeper Patricio and Moutinho they have players who have upset the odds before in big one-off tournaments, playing for Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 when they beat hosts France 1-0.
Patricio, 32, knows the secret is to eradicate any mistakes. ‘What we’ve done so far over two legs and what we are going into now is completely different,’ he says.
‘We have to adapt to a new reality, in a neutral venue and without fans. They are matches where you need to perform to a maximum level. I mean there is no second game to make up for a poor performance in the first.
‘This is knock-out football and we have to be at our best as it’s the only chance we have.
‘We have some experienced players, not only me but Moutinho, Ruben (Neves). Of course we try to pass it on because the way we prepare is the most important thing. It is logical the younger players see the way we prepare and, without a doubt, we are an example for them.’
Wolves began their Europa campaign last July and fell away at the end of the Premier League season to finish seventh outside the European spots.
However, success in the Europa League would mean automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League.
Patricio might feel the Europa League owes him. In 2012, he was part of a Sporting Lisbon side defeated in the semi-finals by Marcelo Bielsa’s Atletic Bilbao.
‘In past seasons, I played in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but I couldn’t make it to a final,’ he reflects.
‘Without a doubt, it’s my dream to be in the final and win this competition. I think we have been a very consistent team. We beat Olympiakos to get here who are well-organised and have excellent players. No doubt our objective is to win the competition.’