Manuel Pellegrini enthused at the team spirit he saw in Malaga, just as Joaquin Caparros appeared to be losing some with Mallorca.
The Costa del Sol outfit reclaimed fourth spot in the table with this close-fought victory at Iberostar Stadium, during which the last 20 minutes had Malaga reduced to 10 men.
“We are in the Champions League places after a physical and emotional drain the Copa del Rey, after fighting on equal terms with Barcelona, and that is always important,” concluded Pellegrini at full-time.
“We played a very good first half before their goal, we were very good, we scored two good goals and had the opportunity to settle the match at 3-0, but we made things complicated.
“Mallorca widened, gained confidence and the second half saw a decisive action with the free-kick goal in the corner but then, after the red card for Demichelis, we maintained order and team spirit to get the three points.
“Mallorca? Starting two goals down is always difficult for the home side, they are an opponent that we know, who are passing, unfortunately, through a difficult patch, but they are a tidy team, who knows how to play perfectly well.
“I am certain they will leave this difficult moment that they are going through.”
However, Caparros hinted afterwards that Mallorca’s future may not include him.
“I have strength, but we all know the law of football,” reflected the Coach at the end when asked if he will still be on the bench come the next game.
“The team is giving everything but without reward. If I see them as apathetic, believe me, then my message would not be getting through to the team, but all is well.
“We shall continue to work hard, I know no other way. I would have liked to have played ugly and won with a rebounded shot, because as professionals we live for results.
“The truth is that we missed another opportunity, but we must keep fighting.
“We are conceding too many goals, it is something that we need to improve, we have to be more forceful in defence because we created the chances at the other end today, the team bounced back from being 0-2 down and they never thought they were out of the game.”
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Demichelis sent off 72 (Malaga)