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Anderlecht aiming for Group C reward

"We deserve to play in the Europa League," said coach John van den Brom as RSC Anderlecht visit Group C winners Málaga CF needing a positive result and a favour from AC Milan.

Anderlecht aiming for Group C reward
Anderlecht aiming for Group C reward ©UEFA.com

UEFA Champions League debutants Málaga CF might have wrapped up top spot in Group C with a game to spare, but coach Manuel Pellegrini wants his team to maintain their standards against RSC Anderlecht, whose coach John van den Brom will be proud of his side whether they earn a UEFA Europa League place or not.

Málaga have qualified as group winners due to their head-to-head superiority over AC Milan.

Anderlecht will reach the UEFA Europa League round of 32 if they pick up more points than FC Zenit St Peterburg do at Milan or overturn their goal difference deficit (see Article 7.06 of the Regulations)

Manuel Pellegrini, coach
Every team wants to win when they go on the pitch; nobody wants to lose. We have to finish first in the group without suffering defeat. It would also be good for the club from a financial point of view. We will not be relaxed as we will play like a team who want the three points. Fortunately we are already in the next stage as group winners, but we will still try to get the points.

There is no difference between the Málaga playing in the Champions League and the one playing in the Liga. I don't have any preference regarding the next stage. After all, sometimes teams that reach the next stage as runners-up are more difficult opponents than the group winners. Either way, it is important to play the second leg at home.

It will be a different game to the one played in Brussels; we are already done and Anderlecht are playing to get a Europa League position. I have not decided my starting XI yet.

Weekend result
Saturday: Getafe CF 1-0 Málaga (Lopo 57)
Willy; Gámez, Demichelis, Weligton, Eliseu; Toulalan, Camacho (Santa Cruz 66), Joaquín (Buonanotte 80), Isco, Portillo (Seba 89); Saviola.

• Coupled with last week's 1-0 home defeat by third-tier CP Cacereño, Málaga suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this term and have now won just one of their last eight games – their worst run since last December/January.

Team news
Martín Demichelis is suspended, Javier Saviola misses out with a muscular problem and Nacho Monreal is struggling with a back injury, but Júlio Baptista is nearing fitness after an Achilles injury that has kept him out all season.

John van den Brom, coach
We have to be very careful with Málaga. In Brussels, we started out attacking, but they proved they are better than us. Málaga are the best team in this group and we wouldn't be very clever if we attacked from the off. I don't know whether Málaga will play with intensity from the kick-off, though I think they want to show why they are top of the group.

We deserve to play in the Europa League because we have been good away and against Zenit at home. It is a pity that we will not continue in the Champions League but it is also good to play in the Europa League. We want to win the Belgian title so we can play in the Champions League again next season. Even if we finish last in the group, I will be very satisfied with my players; I think we deserve more. The most important thing is the experience we have gained in the competition.

Weekend result
Saturday: Anderlecht 2-1 Cercle Brugge KSV (Biglia 71pen, Vargas 90; Bakenga 44)
Proto; Gillet, Kouyaté, Nuytinck, Safari; Biglia, Kljestan; Bruno (Vargas 75), Praet (De Sutter 60), Jovanović (Molins 75); Mbokani.

• Anderlecht made it seven wins in eight games after scoring twice from penalties awarded for fouls on Dieudonné Mbokani. Lucas Biglia converted the first, then his second effort was parried only as far as Ronald Vargas, who tucked in the rebound. It was the Venezuelan's first goal for the club on his first appearance for a month because of a knee injury.

Team news
Olexandr Yakovenko and Olivier Deschacht should be fit having been rested with minor knocks at the weekend.

Match fact
• Málaga are looking for their third straight home win in Group C, having already surpassed the ten points that Pellegrini's Villarreal CF side earned in their first UEFA Champions League campaign in 2005/06. If they avoid defeat against Anderlecht, they will match Villarreal's feat of staying unbeaten on their group stage debut.

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