Myhill extends West Brom stay

BY foxsports • March 12, 2013

Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini is worried the fevered build-up to Wednesday night's UEFA Champions League last-16 second-leg tie against Porto could get the better of his side.

The match has been billed as the biggest in Malaga's century-old history as they bid to overturn a 1-0 deficit and book their place in the quarter-finals for the first time.

The southern Spanish city has been gripped by a debut Champions League campaign that had seen their side go unbeaten - and beat AC Milan to win their group - until defeat in Porto last month.

The importance of the game has been heightened further following UEFA's decision to ban them from European competition - should they qualify in the next four years - due to unpaid bills.

Malaga, fourth in La Liga, have been left aggrieved by the decision, claiming they had been made "scapegoats" and stirred emotion as they bid to prove themselves on the pitch.

"It's important that we keep our nerves and anxiety under control, as if we're too nervous we'll make mistakes," Pellegrini said at a press conference.

"An early goal would be ideal, but we've got 90 minutes to score.

"We're focusing on playing a clever match and ensuring we have a positive result at the end of the 90 minutes."

Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of a first leg the Portuguese champions dominated.

Pellegrini does not expect the visitors to sit back on their lead with the influential Moutinho ready to return from a thigh injury that has kept him out since the first leg.

"I don't think Porto will change their style of play," he said.

"They always have certain characteristics on the pitch and I'm sure they won't be concentrating on defence, but will be determined to score to increase their advantage.

"Our priority is not to concede any goals, as this would mean us having to score three times in order to win."

Brazilian forward Julio Baptista has recently returned after injury and admitted the significance of the match has not been lost on the players.

"This is an historic match for Malaga," he said.

"The fans will really enjoy the match and we'll be doing everything in our power to ensure we get the result we're all hoping for."

Malaga's desperation to progress has put Porto on high alert, despite Moutinho revealing his side believe they can lift the trophy.

"We must take it match by match," he told www.uefa.com

"We all have the ambition to win the Champions League, but we're not thinking further than the game against Malaga.

"That would be a mistake, because they're extremely difficult to beat and will be doing everything they can to go through."

In addition to Moutinho's return Porto have also welcomed back French defender Eliaquim Mangala and Kelvin to their matchday squad.

Malaga did not name midfielders Eliseu and Francisco Portillo, despite both returning to training this week, while United States defender Oguchi Onyewu is still not fit.

But the Paisley-born centre-back will try to shut out the importance of the occasion when he takes to the Hampden pitch on Sunday for the Scottish League Cup final against Hearts.

McAusland was born into a St Mirren-supporting family in 1988 but he has been told all about the day when Ian Ferguson scored the winner against Dundee United at Hampden.

The closest McAusland has come to a major cup final with Saints was watching his former team-mates lose in the 2010 League Cup final.

So McAusland, whose father Bryan is a St Mirren director, is eager to make the most of his chance to make history.

"Being a boyhood fan and a ball boy, always being close to the club with my dad as well, it's going to be massive," he said.

"And for all my friends and family I hope we can do it.

"Everybody knows who the 1987 team are. A lot of people have been saying if we can do that on Sunday and win the cup, then people are going to know who we are for years to come.

"You don't talk about that at the time and you don't think about it. As soon as you step on the field, it will just be a normal game.

"The game will take care of itself and afterwards hopefully the party commences if we win. But we need to take it like any normal game."

McAusland began his career at St Mirren but their last trip to a final coincided with his season with Queen of the South, before the club re-signed him.

And he admits he could not have foreseen returning to Hampden as a St Mirren player when he watched his team lose 1-0 to a nine-man Rangers side.

The 24-year-old said: "I was at Queen of the South and I was there supporting the boys and I felt for them. It was a horrible way to lose.

"There are still a few of them here, so it will be nice for them to be involved on Sunday and hopefully we can do it this time.

"It was really frustrating. They had a great chance and when Rangers lost a couple of players, I think everyone around us thought we could win it.

"That was thoroughly disappointing that we couldn't do it that day but hopefully we can make amends for that on Sunday and give the fans something to cheer about."

The contract also contains a further year's option in the club's favour.

Myhill enjoyed a seven-game run in the first team during November and December when current number one, Ben Foster, was sidelined with a hernia problem which required surgery.

The Baggies new sporting and technical director, Richard Garlick, said: "We've seen this season, it is important to have a good number two.

"Boaz has definitely contributed to our success and stepped up to the plate when Ben Foster was injured.

"In the Barclays Premier League it is vital you have a number two you can trust in but also a number two that can push your number one.

"Everyone at the club has faith in both of them and, with Luke Daniels, we've got a good set of three keepers who push each other in training and have a good understanding with each other."

Myhill spent last season on loan at Birmingham while Foster moved to the Hawthorns in a temporary move which became permanent during thew summer.

The 30-year-old joined Albion from Hull in August 2010 and to date has won 14 caps for Wales.


share story