Pellegrino: Malaga a direct rival

Valencia Coach Mauricio Pellegrino considers tomorrow’s clash with Malaga an important barometer of his side’s capabilities.

Los Che had a slow start to life under Pellegrino, struggling in the bottom half while Malaga were flying high, but tomorrow’s night’s game finds them separated by just one point.

“It’s an important game because Malaga is a team that are going to be up there, like us,” Pellegrino told a Press conference this afternoon. “It will be a measure of our capacities, a difficult game against a team of standing, and that’s what makes it interesting.

“Malaga are a very organised team defensively and they have top players able to play between the lines. They have balance between attack and defence and the fact they have been working together for longer shows.”

Visiting La Rosaleda will bring back good and bad memories for the former assistant to Rafa Benitez, as he won the League there with Valencia but fainted there on another occasion.

“It was one of the worst moments of my career. I prefer to focus on the good.

“The team is working well, we have a good dynamic these days. Malaga are going to be a direct rival in the League and possibly also in the Champions League. It will be a hotly contested game.”

Pellegrino also made a point of claiming that his team have been hard done by this season with regard to suspensions.

“There have been many cards, but we have not been excessively aggressive. There have been no direct red cards for normal faults, there was the sending off of Aly Cissokho [against Real Valladolid], which I find the most absurd law in football.”

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