‘Malaga always believe they can win’

Manuel Pellegrini says that Malaga’s Champions League progression is not a surprise, as the team always believed they could win every game played.

The Anchovies booked their passage to the next round as early as the fourth match of the group stage, before guaranteeing top spot in the fifth game.

For Pellegrini, topping a group containing Milan, Zenit St Petersburg and Anderlecht has not come as a surprise.

“In every game we have been convinced from the start that we can win,” he told reporters after his side’s closing group match at home to Anderlecht.

“We began this competition with three wins and three draws at grounds that are difficult, but we have always come out with the conviction that we could win.”

Even so, his side only drew with their Belgian opposition on Tuesday evening.

“We had more opportunities than Anderlecht, though perhaps theirs were clearer, and we were not so good defensively today.

“Overall, though, I am very pleased, with the fortune of having qualified first in the group two weeks ago, we were able to try a few players in the last two games and also give minutes to the those who usually feature less.”

The Chilean was asked to consider who he would prefer for the Last 16 of the competition.

“I do not care. No rival will be easy in the second round. They are the top 16 in Europe.

“The important thing is in February to have the same conviction that we can do well and progress further.”

Tags 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Pellegrini