June 28, 2020 / 7:22 AM / 11 days ago

Santo keeps perspective as Wolves chase Champions League

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Wolverhampton Wanderers Training - Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground, Wolverhampton, Britain - March 11, 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo during training Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

(Reuters) - Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo is not getting carried away by his team’s form since the Premier League’s restart, pointing instead to the tough run of games standing between them and possible Champions League qualification.

Wolves made it three wins in three matches since English soccer resumed earlier this month by beating Aston Villa 1-0 on Saturday thanks to midfielder Leander Dendoncker’s second-half goal.

Victory moved them up to fifth, two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and three clear of sixth-placed Manchester United, who have both played a game more.

“What’s in front of us is going to be very tough, but it’s a welcome week,” Santo said after the game. “It’s been hard work and then recovery, but it’s all about that. Prepare ourselves to compete and then see what happens.”

With second-placed Manchester City facing a European ban for breaching UEFA financial rules, fifth place will guarantee qualification for the lucrative Champions League unless City win an appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport next month.

But Wolves, who end their league campaign with a trip to Chelsea, have a battle ahead. Santo’s side host Arsenal next before playing a host of mid-table teams in Sheffield United, Everton, Burnley and Crystal Palace.

“Everyone dreams, but we also have to be realistic,” Belgium international Dendoncker said. “We have some tough games coming up, but it is good - we took nine points from nine. We just have to do our best game by game.”

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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