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Wolves name more Portuguese players in their starting line up than Porto and Sporting Lisbon

Wolves named more Portuguese players in their starting line-up than Porto and Sporting Lisbon combined for their Europa League last-32 clashes on Thursday.

Nuno Espírito Santo played fellow countrymen Joao Moutinho, Rui Patricio, Daniel Podence and Ruben Vinagre against Espanyol.

Porto had just Sérgio Oliveira starting at the Estádio do Dragão in their fixture against Bayer Leverkusen, while Sporting Lisbon showcased Luís Maximiano and Tiago Ilori against Istanbul Basaksehir.

It meant the Portuguese clubs started a combined total of three players from the Iberian country, with Wolves rolling out four.

The Black Country club added another two with substitutes - Bruno Jordão and Pedro Neto - while Porto had three more and Sporting had two more on their benches.

Pepe, who was born in Brazil but plays for Portugal, joined Wilson Manafá and Diogo Costa on the sidelines at Porto.

And Pedro Mendes sat with keeper Diogo Sousa in the dugout for Sporting Lisbon in Istanbul. It comes after another of Wolves's Portuguese stars called for calm ahead of their clash in Barcelona.

Ruben Neves dismissed talk of his side's Champions League charge after they thrashed Espanyol 4-0 at Molineux last week.

Winning the Europa League would earn them a Champions League spot, while fifth in the Premier League could also see a place at the top table of club football if Manchester city's appeal against their European ban fails.

Wolves are eighth in the top flight, two points off fifth, but Neves refused to consider challenging the elite.

He said: 'We can't talk about it at this moment. It's a very good moment but we have our feet on the ground.

'We know what we're capable of but we have to be focused on our competitions to keep our pace.

'It's not fair to think about it at the moment. Our philosophy is always game-by-game. After we'll look to the Premier League. It's not the moment to speak about the Champions League.'

Neves scored a spectacular 25-yard volley in last week's win at Molineux, adding to Diogo Jota's hat-trick, but both were rested for Thursday night's game.

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