Vitorino Antunes is resolute in trying to help Malaga defeat Barcelona on Sunday evening, in the team’s first home game of the campaign.
The Anchovies head into Week 2’s test at La Rosaleda against the defending League champions very much as the underdogs and having lost their first game of the season last weekend at Valencia, 1-0.
Even when combined with their opponents having won 7-0 in Week 1, Malaga’s Portuguese international full-back is keen that his side step off on the right foot in front of their own fans.
“I’ve got a great respect for them, but then I do for every team,” explained Antunes to reporters this week.
“We know that Barcelona are one of the best teams in the world, so playing them is a great motivation for us.
“We want to win our first home game of the season, all the more being against Barcelona, and will be doing all we can to earn the three points.”
The visitors on Sunday evening could be without Lionel Messi.
“Messi is such a strong player, and if he’s not in Sunday’s line-up then it’s better for us.
“However Barcelona have other quality players, and the team doesn’t just rely on Messi.
“Barcelona are a fantastic team and present a difficult game for any rival. However it’s 11 against 11 on the pitch and we’re determined to win.
“If we give it our all on Sunday, we’re capable of victory and playing very good football.”
Antunes is working at full-back alongside a new-look defence this season, with Marcos Angeleri and Roberto Chen.
“I think Angeleri and Chen have adapted very well to the team. A player’s first match in Spain is never easy, and they played well against Valencia.
“We know we’ve got a strong team and we can perform well in this competition. There are a lot of factors to take into account, but we’re a quality side.”