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Neves, Traore futures not tied to Champions League qualification, insists Nuno

3 months ago
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Key Wolves players are attracting interest, but Nuno Espirito Santo does not believe they must achieve anything in particular to keep them.

Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo is adamant the futures of star players such as Ruben Neves and Adama Traore are not tied to the club qualifying for the Champions League.

Nuno's side sit sixth in the Premier League after 31 matches and certainly appear to be in with a good chance of securing Europa League football, though a top-four finish is not beyond them yet either.

However, five points separate them from Chelsea in fourth, and even if Manchester City's Champions League ban is upheld, Manchester United are in pole position to take the final qualification spot for Europe's elite competition – though they are only ahead of Wolves on goal difference.

Wolves could still qualify for the Champions League through the Europa League. Nuno's men drew 1-1 with Olympiacos in the away leg of their last-16 tie, which is to be completed in August before the last eight is contested in Germany, the final to be held at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne.

Neves, Traore and Raul Jimenez have all been key components for Wolves over the past two seasons, but there is a sense they could be outgrowing the club as other teams reportedly weigh up potential moves.

Nuno insists Wolves do not need to qualify for the Champions League to keep their squad intact, however.

"I don't think that's the reason they are here," Nuno said when asked if Champions League qualification is vital for certain players.

"The reason is they enjoy working together, so we don't have to achieve anything to retain them. At no point am I thinking about it.

"We don't think about that [the top four]. There's no race for anything, the race is to compete, improve and make good games. This is the challenge for every team in this moment.

"I'm very proud of the work we have been doing. We have begun to build something, we did the right things and we are still in a building process.

"We have achieved important and remarkable things but still have a long way to go, there is still a lot of room to improve.

"When we started we didn't know what was in front of us but we know we had a fantastic club to take care of and try to become as huge as it was in its past history."

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