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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 21:59 GMT
McLeish delighted by team spirit
Rangers manager Alex McLeish
McLeish refused to blame Dado Prso for giving away a penalty
Rangers manager Alex McLeish praised his side despite being held to a draw at home by Villarreal in the first leg of their Champions League tie.

"The efforts were fantastic," he said after the 2-2 draw. "We can play better, but the spirit, determination, the passion were all there.

"We played a very, very good side there and you can see what a difference Riquelme makes. He is different class.

"It makes it awkward for us. But it makes it awkward for Villarreal, too."

Rangers will be without suspended Croatia striker Dado Prso for the second leg in Spain after he received a yellow card at Ibrox.

"He has been a talisman for the club," said McLeish. "But we went to Porto without Dado and 10 first-team players and drew there.

There's still 90 minutes to go and it's going to be very difficult
Villarreal striker Diego Forlan

"We've shown great spirit despite the troubles we've had domestically this season. That's nine games we've played in the Champions League and we're still alive.

"If we can do it and go through to the quarter-finals, I would run out of superlatives."

McLeish avoided criticising Prso for the handball that handed Villarreal an early advantage from the penalty spot.

"It was just human error. He is gutted, but he made up for it with his performance after that," said the Ibrox boss.

"And I thought we had a stonewall penalty late on when Tacchinardi handled in the box."

McLeish thought that Villarreal's second goal, by Diego Forlan, showed that the offside rule required changing.

"I can see that, although he was offside in the first phase he was onside in the second phase," he said.

"According to the rules, the referee got it correct, but he must have been in the goalkeeper's eyeline, so it is a grey area that has to be looked at."

Villarreal striker Forlan did not think it was a foregone conclusion that his side would go on to win the second leg.

"We're a little bit disappointed as we played the better football and controlled the game," said the former Manchester United player.

"There's still 90 minutes to go and it's going to be very difficult. Rangers will be pushing for a victory and that will make it tough for us."

Juan Ramon Riquelme was influential for Villarreal on his return from injury.

"He is a great player and we're happy that he is back," added Forlan. "He completes the team and that's good for everybody."

Interview: Rangers boss Alex McLeish

Rangers 2-2 Villarreal
22 Feb 06 |  Europe


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