By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Sevilla have been performing poorly of late but have had a tough set of fixtures that has involved games against the top three of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. The wealth of talent at their disposal does have them pegged as outside contenders for the Champions League qualification spots although the loss to Malaga could now severely jeopardise their chances.
The La Liga gives great weight to head-to-head considerations and thus Malaga assuredly enter the winter break having secured fourth spot as they earlier beat fifth-placed Real Betis who trail them by three points with a game in hand.
And Pellegrini is happy that his side has repeatedly achieved success against all the clubs likely to pose them a challenge for that all-important fourth-placed finish.
"We earned three important points against a direct rival in the fight for European positions at the end of the season," Pellegrini commented when enquired about the importance of the victory.
But the coach as well as the players were accepting of the fact that Sevilla were the better side in the first half. In the second, Malaga kicked into high gear and managed to win through a goal by Martin Demichelis and a penalty by Eliseu.
"Sevilla lost three or four good opportunities to score in the first half, but paid a high price as we took control during the second half and ended up winning. I think we played well tonight [Saturday], and put on a very confident performance," Pellegrini added.
Echoing his coach's sentiments, Eliseu also told the reporters after the game: "We didn't play at all well in the first half. The coach spoke to us at half time and we went out in the second half with a completely different mentality, which we needed to win the match."
Captain Demichelis was happy not just because of the win at local rivals Sevilla but also due to the fact the team managed to achieve a mid-season objective along the way.
"The good thing is we've nearly earned the 30 points we set ourselves as a target for the first half of the season," he said.
"We came away with three points from a difficult match tonight, and it's great to see how much the fans really love the Andaluz derby."