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Villarreal Aims to Seal Champions League Qualification against Manchester United
    2008-11-25 08:12:20     Xinhua
After resting key players for Saturday's Spanish league defeat, Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini said Monday that his side would be aiming to seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday when they face the defending champions Manchester United.

However, he added that he was not too worried about finishing top of the group in order to get a theoretically easier draw in the knockout stages of the competition.

"Both sides want to win the group, but the main thing is to qualify, be it as winners or in second place. It is true that it is an advantage to win the group because you have the return leg of the last 16 at home," assured Pellegrini in his Monday press conference, reported on the club website.

Manchester United will be without their Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov as well as key players such as Wes Brown, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, but Pellegrini did not think that would affect the side who last season won a domestic and European double.

"Manchester United always goes out to win no matter which ground they are playing at and they always look to play well. The key to beating them is to try and keep the ball as they have a more direct style than we do."

"We are not going to go out and try to just draw the game because that would be very dangerous against a team of their potential, but if in the end the game is a draw and we go through, then it would be a good result," concluded the Villarreal coach.

Without striker Joseba Llorente, who will be out of action for a month with a torn muscle, Villarreal struggled in front of the goal against Valladolid on Saturday and has to improve against the reigning European champions.

Pellegrini has reacted to that setback by bringing former Barcelona midfielder Edmilson into his squad, although there is still no room for Jozy Altidore or Cani.

The Spanish club has played against Manchester United previously in the Champions League. That was back in the season 2005-2006 when they managed two 0-0 draws with their English rivals. This season's meeting in Old Trafford back in September also failed to produce any goals.
 
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