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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 6, 2008

Pellegrini hopeful Villarreal can qualify

Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini lamented his side's inability to qualify from Champions League Group E on Wednesday following the 2-2 draw with AaB, but still backed his team to progress in the weeks to come.

The Spanish side twice took the lead through Giuseppe Rossi and Guillermo Franco but found themselves pegged back by replies from Jeppe Curth and Anders Due which earned the Danes only their second point in the group stage.

The result leaves Villarreal level on eight points with Manchester United, with the two teams set to meet in Spain on November 25.

And while Pellegrini admitted a draw was fair he could not hide his disappointment at not being able to book a place for his side in the next round prior to the match with United.

"I won't go away happy nor disappointed," he said. I think a draw was fair, but we came here looking to qualify and we missed out by very little.

"I'm convinced that if we maintain our level, we'll get to the next phase. We're close, but nothing's certain yet.

"It's not easy to win away at any ground. Neither is it easy to qualify with two games to spare in such an important competition.

"Right now we need a point from the two games that are left and we'll do everything possible to achieve that as soon as possible."

AaB caretaker coach Allan Kuhn, meanwhile, has set his sights on third place in the group.

The Danish club are now level on two points with Celtic, and Kuhn hopes a win over the Scottish champions in their next match on November 25 will help them claim a place in the UEFA Cup.

"I'm extremely proud of our performance," he said. "We played well in the first half but conceded a goal because we were caught napping. We forgot to plug the gap behind the midfield.

"But the way we came out in the second half, that was one of our best displays of the year. I thought we had a good chance of winning at 1-1.

"We put a lot of pressure on them and played at a high level throughout. If we play against Celtic as we did here we can beat them."

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