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Wolves boss Nuno Santo needs to rotate for their dead-rubber tie with Besiktas

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

Wolverhampton Wanderers return to Europa League group stage action for the final time on Thursday evening when they host Besiktas at Molineux.

The west Midlanders have already qualified for the knockout stages while the Turkish outfit cannot do the same, regardless of any potential outcome, so to say this game is a dead-rubber tie would probably be the understatement of the century.

There is one factor that could influence manager Nuno Santo’s team selection, however, as Wolves need to better SC Braga’s result to top Group K.

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Although this comes with its risks. There’s no knowing if the Portuguese side will rest players or look to secure the easier-looking tie in the next round.

Therefore, Nuno needs to make a logical decision – one that will aid their long-term season at the expense of any short-term glory.

This is the perfect opportunity to rest pretty much every first-team player that has regularly featured this season – the likes of Matt Doherty, Leander Dendoncker, Conor Coady, Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez shouldn’t really be anywhere near this tie.

They are currently in Marbella for warm-weather training where several of the club’s promising academy hopefuls have made the trip, which suggests they could well feature on Thursday night. A very wise move.

Wolves have already played 29 matches this season across all competitions, on top of a gruelling pre-season schedule in China, which surely puts them well ahead of just about every single Premier League side.

This weekend, they face the tough test of a resurgent Tottenham Hotspur, who side just one place behind them in the standings. The game is far more important as it will prove just how far Wolves are in their goals – they have beaten reigning champions Manchester City this season too.

Should Nuno...?

Rest his players

Rest his players

Go for top spot

Go for top spot

Nuno needs to look at the bigger picture, especially with the FA Cup to come next month, if he can keep his whole squad fit and firing, then they have an excellent chance of surpassing last season’s historic exploits.

The fact they are 11 games unbeaten in the top-flight, without Willy Boly and with two midfielders in defence, speaks volumes on the team as a whole.

Don’t let the chance to finish top of the group hinder the long-term picture here.

In other news, xG figures suggest that Wolves should have defeated Brighton last weekend with relative ease

Article title: Wolves boss Nuno Santo needs to rotate for their dead-rubber tie with Besiktas

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