Conor Coady thinks Wolves’ win at Besiktas shows they are not in the Europa League to just make up the numbers.
Wanderers will probably be something of an unknown for many teams in the competition, having qualified to play European football for the first time in 39 years during their first season back in the Premier League after a six-year absence from the top flight.
Coady’s side were beaten at home by Braga last month in their opening match in Group K, but got off the mark on Thursday night with a famous 1-0 victory in Istanbul thanks to Willy Boly’s goal deep into injury time.
The Wolves captain said: “To beat Besiktas, a team who are usually in the Champions League, shows the distance this club has come in the last few years – it’s amazing.
“We’ve managed to build and get better but there is still a lot of improvement to do. We need to use this as a springboard because we do not just want to be a number in this competition, we want to go as far as possible.
“We can play better and there are things to work on – we didn’t keep the ball as well as we could have. But to win a game like we did at the end is an amazing feeling.
“It’s an amazing time for us, after losing in the first game we had to put that right and now we need to go forward again.”
With Braga and Slovan Bratislava drawing 2-2 in Portugal, it puts Wolves right in contention – just a point behind the other teams in the group – with a double-header against the Slovakian side to come.
For Besiktas, however, their hopes of qualification look slim following successive defeats in the competition.
Besiktas have also struggled domestically this season, winning just once in the Super Lig, and head coach Abdullah Avci faced questions about his future from Turkish journalists in the post-match press conference on Thursday night.
Avci, who was only appointed in the summer, said: “I believe my players are trying their best to adapt themselves to my style of play. But it is difficult because it takes time to change habits.
“One of the biggest problems we had is that our main striker Burak Yilmaz has been ruled out because of injury and that has been a big blow to us. He is a key player not only for us, but for the Turkish national team.
“I believe that we made a step forward, even though we lost, and on Sunday we will change this situation and take three points.”
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