Pellegrini: The Beast is back – almost

Malaga boss Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed that Julio ‘The Beast’ Baptista is on course to return before the end of the year.

The influential Brazilian attacker has been out since undergoing surgery on his Achilles in the summer.

“We’ll see by the end of the year,” Pellegrini stated in a Press conference ahead of his side’s meeting with Valencia.

“Obviously he won’t feature against Valencia, or against Cacereno [in the Copa del Rey] or in the next League game. But I hope that in the month of December he will have a few minutes.”

This week has brought more European success for the Andalusians, who confirmed top spot in their Champions League group with a 2-2 draw at Zenit St Petersburg, but now they must address their ailing La Liga form.

“There is no physical fatigue, but a mental demand. Tomorrow is an opportunity to demonstrate tactical and technical work, good individual performances and good physical work.

“We were having a good Championship until two or three games ago. Hopefully tomorrow we will soar and win against Valencia. It will be a tough, physical game involving great players. Valencia have been behind only Real Madrid and Barcelona in recent years and maintained that hierarchy.”

The Chilean also touched on Nacho Monreal’s fitness issues and the state of the pitch at La Rosaleda.

“Monreal is in a recovery period, we do not yet know when he will return. He has a complicated back ailment, but he has been improving.

“Hopefully the pitch gets better, but the reports are not positive. Our game needs it.”

Tags Julio Baptista Manuel Pellegrini Nacho