Two teams at opposite ends of the form spectrum take to Riazor on Saturday as an out-of-sorts Deportivo La Coruna host a resurgent Malaga.
Pepe Mel seemed he could do no wrong after he avoided defeat in his first four games as Depor Coach, culminating in a 2-1 win against Barcelona, but the Galicians have failed to triumph in as many games since, leaving them just six points afloat in La Liga.
“If we win, it won’t keep us up mathematically, but it’ll be a weight off our shoulders,” the former Real Betis boss said at a Press conference.
“One of the problems of this group is pressure, and it’s something we want to leave behind as soon as possible. That stops us from playing as we want.”
Depor have been boosted by the return of midfield general Pedro Mosquera against Malaga, who picked up back-to-back wins for the first time in more than a year last weekend, courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Barca.
They look safe with seven games remaining, but Coach Michel Gonzalez – who celebrated a month in charge against the Catalans – warned his side were not yet out of the woods.
“We must play as if we’re in danger,” affirmed the ex-Real Madrid midfielder.
“My players are no longer deceiving me because I know what they can give of themselves, although we must still be careful.”
The Andalusians will also be without two of their heroes from a week ago in Venezuelan pair Juanpi Anor and Adalberto Penaranda.
Deportivo La Coruna (probable): Lux; Laure, Sidnei, Luisinho; Mosquera, Guilherme; Gama, Emre, Kakuta; Andone
Injuries/suspensions: Fernando (I)
Malaga (probable): Kameni; Rosales, Luis Hernandez, Diego Llorente, Juan Carlos; Camacho, Recio; Jony, Fornals, Keko; Sandro
Injuries/suspensions: Jose Rodriguez, Juanpi, Kone, Kuzmanovic, Miguel Torres, Penaranda (all injured) Ricca (S)
Referee: Undiano Mallenco
Form guide: Depor (L D L L W) Malaga (W W L D L)
Previous meeting: Malaga 4-3 Depor
Kick-off time: 12:00 BST/13:00 CET