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Ebullient Anderlecht up for Málaga test

John van den Brom says his RSC Anderlecht side are playing "better with every game" but they will need to have their wits about them to deny on-song Málaga CF in Group C.

John van den Brom leads an Anderlecht training session on the eve of the Málaga game
John van den Brom leads an Anderlecht training session on the eve of the Málaga game ©AFP/Getty Images

RSC Anderlecht are full of confidence going into their UEFA Champions League Group C meeting with Málaga CF, but while visiting coach Mauricio Pellegrini was quick to play down his side's good form, he knows a second victory – to follow their 3-0 matchday one success against FC Zenit St Petersburg – would be a massive leap towards the knockout stage.

Coach John van den Brom
Every match in the Champions League is tough for Anderlecht, but since the play-off success against AEL Limassol we have improved. In the domestic league we play better with every game, and we can keep that improvement going because the team has confidence. Everyone is fit – we have the same squad as last Saturday. So if you take all that into consideration – the confidence we have, plus home advantage which can also make a difference – then we are capable of doing something good.

Málaga are a good side with a lot of experience, who never panic and play good passing football. We always have to play according to our own strengths, but we respect Málaga. We got a good result in Milan [a 0-0 draw on matchday one], but Málaga also had an excellent start against Zenit. I hear that they played fantastically in that match, so we have to respect them, but that's all.

Weekend result
Saturday: Anderlecht 3-0 KSC Lokeren OV (Mbokani 51 89, Deschacht 61)
Proto; Gillet, Kouyaté, Nuytinck, Deschacht; Bruno (Yakovenko 70), Biglia, Kanu, Jovanovic; De Sutter (Praet 70), Mbokani.

• Anderlecht kept their first clean sheet in six First League matches.

Team news
Anderlecht are at full fitness.

Coach Manuel Pellegrini
Just because we are getting good results in the league, it doesn't mean we will automatically win in the Champions League. I do not think Málaga are the favourites here because we started with a victory against Zenit. That was a totally different match. Against Zenit, we were at home, and now at Anderlecht this is an away game so it is going to be more difficult. A Champions League group is made up of four teams from different countries with different styles. There are still 15 points to play for so you cannot predict what will happen. For now we are doing great but we have to keep focused on the next match.

Anderlecht are a good team with a lot of attack-minded players and good ball control, but if we win, we will already be five points ahead of them. There is no special Pellegrini method – I just do things my way and it has worked out fine until now, but maybe in the future we will start losing games and that will change.

Weekend result
Saturday: Málaga 4-0 Real Betis Balompié (Joaquín 13pen, Saviola 28, Amaya 72og, Isco 74)
Willy Caballero; Jesús Gámez, Demichelis, Weligton, Monreal; Ignacio Camacho, Joaquín (Seba Fernández 77), Portillo, Isco, Eliseu (Recio 71); Saviola (Santa Cruz 68).

• The early dismissal of Betis's goalkeeper heralded an easy victory, with Joaquín opening the scoring from the resulting penalty. Málaga therefore extended their unbeaten start to nine games this term.

Team news
Jérémy Toulalan, Diego Buonanotte and Júlio Baptista are training individually but have not travelled to Brussels. Pellegrini said: "It is more difficult when you are missing three players but it will not make any difference to the final result."

Match fact
Anderlecht won their first seven home matches against Spanish visitors but have lost three of the past four. Their overall home record against Liga sides is W8 D0 L3.

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