McAteer asks for patient approach

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The Independent Online
After a night when Aston Villa were unimaginative ambassadors for English football and Newcastle United failed to impress even though they made progress, Liverpool have the chance tonight to show how to deal with part- time players from Scandinavia.

The Finnish side MyPa-47 arrive at Anfield to take on the daunting task of trying to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of this Cup-Winners' Cup first-round tie in Anjalankoski a fortnight ago. The Merseyside fans will no doubt expect a feast of goals, but the Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer warns against excessive expectations.

"There are no easy games in this competition. No team is a pushover any more," McAteer said. "We have to try and get an early goal. That might just put them down in the dumps."

Patrik Berger, the Czech international playmaker, seems certain to retain his place against the Finns after scoring four goals in the space of a week. The Liverpool manager, Roy Evans, has a fully fit 18-man squad to choose from. "We have to be sensible, for this is a tough game and our attitude has got to be right," Evans said. "But we have the bonus of the away goal so we don't have to go chasing the game."

The MyPa-47 coach, Harri Kampman, knows his team face an uphill task. "I believe Liverpool could be as good as Ajax," he said. "They have good, fast players and are well disciplined and well organised."

Meanwhile, the Aston Villa manager, Brian Little, was yesterday attempting to pick up the pieces after his side slid out of the Uefa Cup in Sweden on Tuesday. Villa drew 0-0 at Helsingborgs but went out on the away-goals rule after a 1-1 draw in Birmingham.

"The shame is that we are not going to get an opportunity this season to learn from this and a lot of people will be critical of us after this," Little said. "But, in football and life in general, you need a few hard days to teach you to enjoy the good days. Everyone was down afterwards and we will have spent a few hours wallowing in our disappointment. That teaches you something."

Doug Ellis, the Villa chairman, described it as "the worse night I've experienced in terms of Europe since coming to the club 28 years ago." However, he insisted that Little will not suffer the same fate as Ron Atkinson, who was removed by Ellis from the Villa Park manager's job soon after a Uefa Cup defeat to Trabzonspor two years ago. "We have the best manager that I can remember in Brian - and I have had seven previous ones," Ellis said.

Unlike Villa, Newcastle had made home advantage pay in the first leg with a 4-0 win over Halmstads so, despite a 2-1 defeat in Sweden, they reached the second round of the Uefa Cup "Our attitude was disappointing," Kevin Keegan, the Newcastle manager, said. "We didn't do ourselves any favours and we got what we deserved."