Villarreal appeal to McLeish

Coach Alex McLeish was feeling cautiously confident after his Rangers FC side drew UEFA Champions League debutants Villarreal CF in the last 16.

'A reasonable draw'
"It's a reasonable draw for us but I'm sure Villarreal [CF] will be thinking along those lines as well," he told uefa.com. "They are a right good side and don't forget they won the group that Manchester United [FC] were in, so we are under no illusions about the task we face.

High expectations
"It's a draw that people might say gives us a chance and expectations might be higher because of that. I'm glad we avoided the likes of [FC] Barcelona, and Villarreal gives us a fighting chance of making the quarter-finals, but make no mistake they are an excellent side and it will be difficult."

Justified caution
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup winners in 1972, Rangers had never before reached the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League, but McLeish was right to be wary of his Spanish opponents - the last time the Glasgow outfit faced a Primera División team was when they lost twice to Valencia CF in the 1999/00 group stage.

No pushover
McLeish is an admirer of the attacking football Villarreal play, saying: "They are an excellent passing side with some very good players, including Diego Forlán, Luciano Figueroa - who we tried to get from Argentina a few years ago - as well as Juan Román Riquelme who is excellent at set-pieces."

Virgin territory
Villarreal may be on virgin territory in the UEFA Champions League, but they have shown no fear of the big occasion in recent seasons. UEFA Intertoto Cup winners in 2003 and 2004, they are on an upward curve after making the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in the last two campaigns - the former including a 3-1 aggregate defeat of Rangers' rivals Celtic FC in the last eight.

Home advantage


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