Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini has promised that his side will attack from the off at AaB as they go in search of the win that would move them to the brink of qualification for the knockout stages.
The Spanish club sit second in Group E, six points clear of the Danish champions, and Pellegrini intends to extend that lead tonight.
“Our objective is to qualify as soon as possible,” he said. “That has been our aim from the start and we want to achieve it as quickly as we can. We will then fight for first place in the group, but first we make sure of second.”
Two weeks ago these sides produced a nine-goal thriller at El Madrigal, with Villarreal eventually prevailing by 6-3 at the beginning of a three-game run in which they conceded 12 goals.
“The three teams [AaB, Atletico Madrid and Polideportivo Ejido] we played when we shipped those goals were all different and difficult, but there are no worries – we are strong,” said Pellegrini, who will start with Cani in midfield should Santi Cazorla fail to recover from a groin injury. “I am not worried about the weather, I expect my players to perform as normal.”
AaB have fired coach Bruce Rioch since the previous meeting between the two sides and installed his assistant Allan Kuhn on a temporary basis.
“This is a good opportunity for me and I’m sure when I see the packed stadium I’ll realise it is a massive occasion,” said the 40-year-old ahead of his Champions League debut. “I’d like to keep the job longer,” he added. “I’ve reached an agreement with our sporting director to stay for a month and a half as coach, but hopefully it’ll be more.”
AaB’s chances of advancing have all but vanished after a haul of one point from three matches, but Kuhn still expects his players to give theirall tonight.
“When you play Villarreal, there will be times when you have to defend – they push their full-backs up – but we’ll look to create opportunities like we did in our last game against them,” said the new coach.
“In the first half in Spain we were the better team.”