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Pellegrini confident of toppling Porto

12 March 2013 19:05

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini has rejected suggestions Porto will solely focus on defence in their Champions League round-of-16 second leg.

Pellegrini has argued Porto will attack in Spain on Wednesday, claiming the Portuguese club have a 'well-defined playing style', which focuses on scoring goals.

Porto have been kept scoreless just once in their past six away matches in the Champions League and, in Colombian striker Jackson Martinez, have one of the most prolific goal-scorers in Europe.

"I don't think Porto will adapt their style of play," Pellegrini said.

"They have a well-defined playing style and players with certain characteristics, so I think they will come here and play like they have in every other game, including during the group stage.

"We do not expect Porto to come here and defend their lead.

"They'll play and try to score, the important thing for us is to play a balanced, high-tempo game and keep in mind that we have just as much a chance of qualifying as they do."

Pellegrini's side lost the first leg 1-0 but Brazilian veteran Julio Baptista remains confident Malaga can overturn that deficit in front of their home fans.

Baptista has been struggling with a hamstring strain but has been declared fit to play against Porto and the 31-year-old says Malaga must stay true to their playing principles after a lacklustre performance in Portugal four weeks ago.

"I think what hurt most was the way in which we played," Baptista said.

"Porto played their brand of football, which we're all aware of, while we didn't play like we usually do.

"We can achieve something very important here.

"If we get through it will be an amazing feeling.

"Tomorrow for us, it is a final, we are approaching it like a final and the whole squad is completely focused on getting through this match."

Malaga had never played in the Champions League before this season and shocked Europe when they topped their group undefeated.

But Pellegrini does not believe the adventure will stop at the round of 16.

"I'm very confident (Malaga can progress) because (the) squad (is) training with intensity and confidence," Pellegrini said.

"We will try to push on and make a further step to be among the eight best teams in Europe, which would be incredible for this club."

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