Malaga midfielder Jeremy Toulalan has suggested that the club would no longer exist if not for Coach Manuel Pellegrini.
Pellegrini played a unifying role last summer when the Andalusian club were assailed by financial problems and forced to sell off several players. To the surprise of most observers his side have went on to qualify for the Champions League last 16 and emerged as contenders to finish in the top four in La Liga.
“I had serious doubts that I could continue here,” Toulalan told AS. “The situation was simple, I spoke to the club and they made me understand that they needed money and would have to sell players.
“But when I spoke to Pellegrini all doubts disappeared completely. We talked and listened to offers from other clubs, but once I talked to the Coach everything was solved. Without Pellegrini, the team and the club would be dead.
“I came here because Pellegrini had full confidence in me. When I talked to him this summer, I got the same sense of confidence and that’s why I’m here. The message he gave me is the one he gave to the group. He is the core that holds us together. Without him, each of us would have gone to a different place.”
It’s been a frustrating season characterised by injury problems for the former Lyon man personally.
“When you’re injured it’s tough, but with the support of teammates, technicians and doctors, I recovered well. I am very happy to be playing again.”
Toulalan also gave his thoughts on Ignacio Camacho, who excelled in his absence from central midfield, and various other colleagues.
“This year Camacho is having continuity and he is one of the revelations of this Malaga. He has assumed a great responsibility.
“I am surprised by [Manuel] Iturra, I did not know him but he has played some very good matches. [Julio] Baptista has been out for a long time and it will not be easy to find his top form this year. But for sure he will find it next season.”
The 29-year-old ended by speaking about the La Rosaleda pitch.
“The state of the pitch is a disaster. This is proof that the team can play well anywhere. Isco would play well on the beach!”