Some might have considered it harsh that Alaves got rid of Jose Bordalas after he had led them to the Segunda division title in 2015-16, but the brand of football he installed was so negative that the 2016-17 campaign in La Liga could have become quite a slog. As such, the club’s hierarchy opted for a change in direction and hired former player Mauricio Pellegrino.
The 44-year-old has now been coaching for a decade, having went straight into youth coaching with Valencia when he retired in 2006. He then joined forces with his former coach Rafa Benitez at Liverpool and learned from the Spaniard at Anfield and subsequently at the San Siro while working with Inter.
The Argentine then moved back to Valencia in 2012 as a head coach in his own right, but he lasted just a few months at the Mestalla after failing to live up to the high standards set by his predecessor Unai Emery. As a result, he returned to his home country and managed at both Estudiantes and Independiente before being offered the Alaves job in the summer of 2016.
His style of play is fairly conservative, which makes sense given that he played as a centre-back during his playing days, but he is certainly not as negative as his predecessor Bordalas. Pellegrino’s teams have almost always played with a back four and with a lone centre-forward, but with a variety of midfield combinations in between.