Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo and midfielder Ruben Neves say the serious knee injury suffered by Spanish defender Jonny will inspire them in Tuesday’s Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla.
The 26-year-old wing-back was ruled out of Wolves’ European campaign after damaging his cruciate knee ligament in Thursday’s last-16 1-0 home win over Greek side Olympiakos which sealed a 2-1 aggregate victory.
“Jonny is an amazing player for us, he’s a fantastic boy, we wish him all the best and know he will be with us in spirit,” said Nuno in Duisburg on Monday.
“We want to play for Jonny, he’s one of us, and we will do our best to give him the win,” added Neves.
Wolves are through to the club’s first European quarter-final since 1972, when they went on to lose the UEFA Cup final to Tottenham.
Their current campaign has spanned 13 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Five-time winners Sevilla, who lifted the trophy three seasons running between 2014 and 2016, will pose their biggest test to date.
“We know they have won the tournament before but it’s different now with just one leg,” Neves said.
“It will be like a final for us and Sevilla.”
Neves admitted that Wolves are short of experience on the European stage, but hungry for success.
“It was our goal since the restart of the Europa League to be in Germany playing in the final eight.
“We achieved it, but we don’t want to stop here.
“We know it will be hard but we’re ready.”
With temperatures in Duisburg around 30 degrees Celsius, Neves dismissed the notion that the heat could help Sevilla, who are used to such conditions.
“That’s maybe the only thing they are ahead of us on,” said Neves.
“They are used to playing in this weather, in the UK we don’t have it, but we’re professionals and will be ready to play, rain or shine.”
The Portugal midfielder also said he wants to get one over Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui, who gave him his professional debut as a teenager in 2014 at Porto.
“I can’t lie, he’s a very special coach for me and gave me a chance when I was 17 years old,” said Neves.
“Tomorrow, of course, I will want to beat him, but I am also thankful to him.”