Olympiakos v Wolves: Conor Coady concerned about family health

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March 12, 2020
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    Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo (right)

    Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo (right) says it would be better for the match to be postponed

    Wolves defender Conor Coady says he is concerned about his family’s health as his team prepare to play at Olympiakos in the Europa League having wanted the game postponed because of coronavirus.

    Thursday’s last-16 first-leg match will be played in the absence of supporters because of the spread of the virus.

    “You go home to your wives and kids after the game so that’s the priority,” Coady said.

    “We need to make sure it’s right when we’re going home.”

    Uefa, European football’s governing body, rejected the Premier League side’s request to postpone the game on Wednesday. Wolves said they were not only concerned about their own players and staff but also those of Olympiakos, whose owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus.

    Marinakis, who also owns Nottingham Forest, met a number of Arsenal players when the club hosted the Greek side in a Europa League match two weeks ago. As a consequence, some Gunners players are in self-isolation and Wednesday’s Premier League game against Manchester City was postponed.

    Many European club competition fixtures are to be played behind closed doors this week, while the Europa League fixtures between Sevilla and Roma, and Inter Milan and Getafe, have been postponed.

    Coady, 27, added: “We’ve seen the game postponed between City and Arsenal but as players there’s not a lot we can do.

    “All we can do is train, prepare and listen to our manager and play tomorrow [Thursday] night.

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    “We’re ready to play. We’ve looked at it and a lot of people have spoken, we’ve read a lot of things and seen a lot of things but listen, we’re professional footballers.”

    Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo added: “We have all the insurance in terms of health situations and we are OK. It’s just the fact that we love to compete in a normal situation.”

    “I think it will be better for the competition, for the tie [for the game to be postponed].

    Nuno added that his players will not train at the Karaiskakis Stadium in the build-up to the match.

    TEAM NEWS

    Wolves have two injury concerns. Full-back Jonny has a foot injury and Adama Traore has a shoulder problem.

    As for Olympiakos, right-back Bruno Gaspar (hamstring) and keeper Bobby Allain (calf) are doubts.

    MATCH FACTS

    • This will be the first competitive meeting between Olympiakos and Wolves. English sides have been eliminated from both of their last two knockout ties against Olympiakos in European competition (Burnley in 2018-19 Europa League play-offs and Arsenal in the previous round).
    • Wolves have never travelled to face Greek opposition in any competition. However, including play-offs this season, Wolves have won more away games in their seven matches this campaign (five) than they managed across their 16 European away days beforehand (W4 D4 L8).
    • Olympiakos are looking to become the first side to eliminate English opposition in back-to-back knockout rounds in a single season in major European competition since Bayern Munich beat Arsenal (last 16) and Manchester United (quarter-final) in the 2013-14 Champions League.
    • Heading into the last 16 of this season’s Europa League, only Basel (six) have won more matches in the competition than Wolves (five), while no side has netted more goals than the English side (17 – level with Sporting Braga).
    • Wolves striker Diogo Jota is looking to become the first player in major Uefa competition (Uefa Cup/Europa League, European Cup/Champions League, Cup Winners’ Cup) to score a hat-trick in three successive appearances. The last player to net three separate trebles in the same Europa League campaign was Radamel Falcao in 2010-11 for FC Porto.
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