Pellegrino hails final ‘gift’ from players

Alaves boss Mauricio Pellegrino has paid tribute to his side after they gave him the ‘gift’ of qualifying for the Copa del Rey final.

A great individual effort from substitute Edgar Mendez nine minutes from time was the only goal over the two legs to send the Basque club into their first ever final of the competition.

"I have a great satisfaction with what these guys have given me," Pellegrino told reporters after the match.

"This final is a gift from the team, and particularly given this is our first year in La Liga after so many seasons down [in the lower tiers].

"I am also very grateful to the team behind the team that comes out. This final will have the whole team focused for the rest of the league season in order for everyone to be in shape when that match arrives.

"Luis Enrique helped me a lot when I arrived in Spain and I keep great memories of that on a personal level…on the pitch there will be rivalry, but on a personal level I really appreciate him.

"It's going to be a very difficult game and tomorrow we will start thinking about it.

"It will be against one of the best teams in the world and we'll try to make sure everyone is better [in terms of fitness] for that game."

Tags Mauricio Pellegrino