First leg: Rangers 2-2 Villarreal
Both Villarreal and Rangers coaches believe that nerves could be a significant factor in tonight’s Champions League encounter.
Villarreal have a slight advantage after their 2-2 draw in Glasgow two weeks ago, but coach Manuel Pellegrini admits the pressure has affected him in the build up to the game.
“Before such a big match like this, everything makes you worry and you examine every possible angle during your preparation,” he said.
“We have a great opportunity to reach the last eight and it’s useful that we don’t have to be in a rush to score because we have the two away goals.
“Rangers, like any away team, have the prospect of going one goal ahead and then defending. But the key to victory will be us trying to be better than Rangers in as many aspects of the match as possible and committing fewer mistakes than in the first leg.”
Meanwhile, Rangers manager Alex McLeish has acknowledges that he hopes to exploit any nerves evident in tonight’s opponents.
McLeish said: “It is part of our thinking that this is a huge occasion for Villarreal and that they have never been at this stage of a Champions League tournament before.
“I’d like to discover whether they are feeling any nerves and whether or not the occasion might affect some of their individuals. Villarreal have some absolutely marvellous players and they did take a good result back from Ibrox.
“But they are only human and I know that towards the end of the qualifying tie against Everton, there were quite a few nerves among the Villarreal players. I’d like to think that my players and our tactical plan could test that idea out.”
Villarreal have no injury concerns with the exception of the injured Juan Pablo Sorín.
For Rangers, McLeish may well restore Thomas Buffel to the starting line-up as a replacement for the suspended Dado Prso.