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Serie A season preview: AS Roma

AS Roma 8 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 24, 2008

Pellegrini only focused on qualification

Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini insists his side's main aim this week is qualification for the Champions League knock-out stages and that anything else would be a bonus.

The Spanish side welcome Manchester United to the Estadio El Madrigal knowing that Tuesday's result will more than likely decide who tops Champions League Group E, with both teams currently on eight points - four more than Celtic and AaB.

The pair kicked off their campaign with a draw at Old Trafford and a similar result could ensure qualification for both. Pellegrini insists he would be satisfied with that.

"It's clear that our first aim is to qualify then to be first,'' he said. "If we are, all the better, but if the draw qualifies us, I will be happy.

"Both teams want to be first and they're going out onto the pitch with that intention, but what's really important is to qualify which we will equally do if we are second.

"What's also certain is that if we remain first it will be a great advantage playing the second leg of the next round at home.''

Everything is pointing to a draw, with the last three meetings between the two - who were also pitted against each other in the group stages of the 2005/06 competition - ending goaless.

Despite knowing that a draw would see both sides through to the next round, Pellegrini insists neither side will go out onto the pitch with that in mind.

"We're not going to go for a draw because that would be very dangerous against a side with Manchester United's potential,'' he continued. "If at the end we draw and for that reason we qualify it will be a good result, but we're not thinking about that.

"I know that in the three previous meetings neither team have been capable of winning, but in this match there is an extra motivation, it will be different.''

It is likely both teams had an eye on the match this weekend as Villarreal lost their unbeaten record when they fell to a 3-0 defeat at home to Valladolid, while United drew at Aston Villa.

However, Pellegrini is confident of a better performance tomorrow.

"You shouldn't drag things out of proportion,'' he said, "The team are going through an exceptional period.

"Manchester United always go out there to win and that points to a good game. The key to winning it will be to keep the ball, seeing that they have a style of play that is more direct than ours.''

Reports suggest that Cristiano Ronaldo could be a major doubt for the clash after the winger limped off towards the end of Saturday's match - although he has travelled to Spain.

However, Pellegrini insists it is the same to him whether the Portugal star plays or not.

He added: "United are not just Cristiano Ronaldo, they have other great players and any one of them can decide a game.''

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