McCall chasing early goal

Motherwell boss ready for tough second leg against Panathinaikos

Stuart McCall: Knows it is vital for Motherwell to strike first in Athens

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Stuart McCall has admitted that Motherwell must score the opening goal in Wednesday's match against Panathinaikos if they are to have any chance of overturning a 2-0 deficit.

Motherwell were beaten at home in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League qualifier last week as goals from Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Charis Mavrias put the Greek side on course for a place in the next round.

McCall recognises that it will now be difficult to get past Panathinaikos but he is staying hopeful and would like to make a fast start to the game.

Before flying out from Glasgow airport on Tuesday, McCall said: "We are going to have to defend very well and obviously getting the first goal is going to be key.

"If we can manage that, who knows but it's a big ask.

"We have to make sure we are competitive, put on a good show and learn from the experience.

"We are not naive. We know we are going to have to be at our very best, we are going to have to defend well and get that bit of luck.

"If they are at their best it could be a long night for us but we have to be a tight unit first and foremost."


Well skipper Keith Lasley stressed the importance of positivity in Athens.

"We know we are up against it, there is no doubt about it," he said. "But I think we have to go with a positive attitude.

"We have a lot of fans travelling over and we want to do them justice and do ourselves justice.

"I think we did that in the first leg, I think we showed we can create chances at least and if we score first then let's see what happens.

"I suppose the pressure is off a little bit, I don't think anybody expects to get anything but that is not the mindset we are going in with.

"I don't know how they will approach the game, maybe they think the tie is done and hopefully we can play on that."

Lasley acknowledges the problems the weather may cause the Scottish side, saying: "I think the heat is going to be a big factor.

"I don't think we will be able to go gung-ho for 90 minutes, but if we pick and choose our times to attack we believe we can score a goal at least.

"The Greeks are famous for having a fiery atmosphere and that is something else we are looking forward to."