Manuel Pellegrini admitted that Malaga did not play very well in Tuesday’s Copa del Rey clash, but that perseverance won through.
The Costa del Sol side were handed an early scare in the second leg of this Last 16 tie against Segunda Division B side Eibar, as they fell behind to an early goal, to make it 2-1 to the minnows on aggregate.
However, two goals from Diego Buonanotte and strikes from Seba Fernandez and Portillo eventually settled the tie 4-1 on the night and 5-2 on aggregate for the La Liga side.
“Nobody thought it was going to be easy. They had eliminated Athletic Bilbao. They are a team with a lot of confidence and who are having a great season. We had to play a great match,” reflected the Chilean after his side’s convincing scoreline.
“It makes me happy that the team played the whole game. We lacked creativity in the first half in trying to equalise. During the second half, as we continued to work, it came together.
“We did not play a great game, but it was not so bad. Matches last 90 minutes. We took advantage, especially in the last 20 minutes, to make the most of the spaces in the game.
“It has cost us a lot, but there was a maturity and patience to do it.”