Pellegrini: League is our priority

Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that Malaga’s priority this season will remain La Liga and not European football.

The Anchovies are midway through the Champions League qualifying round and hold a 2-0 first leg lead over Panathinaikos. Should they win on aggregate after next week’s second leg in Greece, they will be in the group stages of the tournament.

However, even with the potential big games that would bring, Pellegrini has assured that his focus is keeping his team interesting primarily in domestic football.

“It has not been very difficult, at least in theory, but we shall see it in practice,” the Chilean told reporters today.

“I’ve stressed many times to the players that it will be European competition that we will have every week, but that La Liga will remain the most important tournament in terms of performance.

“These European tournaments are a round-trip and at any time you could be eliminated and domestically you have to be in a good position.

“It was a strong mentality that we played at Vigo with and hopefully we can maintain that against Mallorca tomorrow.”

On that game, the technician made it clear once again that the kick-off time – 11pm local time – was not convenient.

“It is certainly not a good time to play a football game, because it starts at 11pm at night, whilst ends near to 1am, and people have to then get home and for many it is perhaps not easy to get to the stadium.

“I don’t know the reasons behind playing at this time, but certainly it is not good for football.

“Against Mallorca we will try to impose our football, but the their team has a characteristic and teams of Joaquin Caparros have a very clear identity.

“Mallorca are a good team with good players who worked well last year, so we will have a very difficult opponent in front of us, as we did last year.

“To get three points we will have to play a very good game.”

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