Champions League news

Pellegrini targets 'perfect game'

March 11, 2013
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini says his side will need a "perfect game" if they are to turn around a 1-0 first-leg deficit in Wednesday's Champions League last 16 tie against Porto at La Rosaleda.

Manuel Pellegrini
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Porto were by far the better team in last month's first game at their Estadio do Dragao, but only had Joao Moutinho's second-half strike to show for their dominance.

The upcoming challenge loomed over Malaga's 1-1 Primera Division draw at Real Valladolid on Saturday, during which key creators Isco and Joaquin were rested.

Speaking afterwards the Chilean coach said Los Boquerones would need to up their game significantly from the first leg if they wished to progress, as the Liga Sagres side were well suited to defending a lead away from home.

"They are a very competitive team, very physical, who play better away than at home," Pellegrini said. "They have a great history in the cup, we will need to play a perfect game. We must take advantage of the atmosphere in the ground, which will be like another player."

Pellegrini, who is reportedly favoured by Roman Abramovich to take charge at Chelsea next season, may have injured trio Eliseu, Julio Baptista and Weligton back in contention on Wednesday.

The veteran boss, who guided Villarreal to within a penalty kick of the 2006 Champions League final, said everyone at Malaga wanted the Qatari-backed club's first experience of Europe's top club competition to continue to the quarter-finals at least.

"The more experience you have, the more you value it and the more you want to play, because you know how hard it is to get here," he said. "We must enjoy the nerves and the tension, and the excitement of the fans."