Wolverhampton Wanderers have all but advanced to the last 16 of the Europa League, after demolishing Espanyol 4-0 in the first leg at Molineux.
The Premier League side produced a stunning performance on Thursday night and avoided conceding, meaning there is next to no chance they’ll be exiting the competition next week.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side saw less of the ball than the Spanish outfit, but were much better with their use of it, and clinical in their finishing.
Especially good in front of goal was Diogo Jota, who was able to score his second hat-trick of the season.
The Portugal international scored three against Besiktas back in December, and there appears to be something about the Europa League which fires him up.
Of his 12 goals in all competitions, nine have now come in the competition including qualifying.
Jota’s fine display on Thursday was particularly timely, given the arrival of the lively Daniel Podence in January.
TBR’s view – Jota needed strong showing
Jota’s perfomances in the Premier League of late haven’t been quite so convincing, so it was really important for him to shine bright against Espanyol following his destruction of Besiktas a couple of months ago.
Wolves now have a great talent in their ranks in Podence, who signed for a reported £17 million last month (BBC Sport), and the diminutive winger is expected to push hard to become a regular starter.
Podence has the versatility to play anywhere in attack, and theoretically Jota’s position in the side is vulnerable given the exploits of Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez.
His latest hat-trick was superbly taken and may just buy the star a few more weeks in the starting XI.