By FOX Sports Staff
He was still happy to have secured the three points on the night as it ensures that Malaga will stay on in fourth place, ahead of the likes of Valencia and Rayo Vallecano.
But the game was an action-packed encounter that seemed to promise an altogether different scoreline. The custodians of both sides were kept busy with shots raining on their goals.
Ultimately, Malaga won the match courtesy of Javier Saviola that featured some clever dribbling by Lucas Piazon in the build-up.
Pellegrini felt that the goalkeepers were crucial, telling the post-match press conference: "I've always said that collective results are based on the level of individual performance. Willy (Caballero) made some great stops, but Athletic's (Raul Fernandez) did too."
"Two [shots] from Piazon, Joaquin... and five more. It was a match that shouldn't have ended 1-0, because both teams created plenty of chances.
"Both [sides] were very good and the final result was made possible by the goalkeepers.
"The team needed to play well against Athletic, attack and put on a good showing."
The Chilean opted not to rest any key players with Joaquin being the only regular first-team member placed on the bench. However, he denied that his side were seeking a win in order to head into Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Porto in the right spirit.
"It doesn't matter if you go into it [the game against Porto] winning or losing," he commented.
"The team should aim to achieve success in both La Liga and the Champions League."
Malaga, who will visit the Estádio do Dragão for the round of 16 first leg, cannot qualify for any European competition for the coming season due to a UEFA ban. The club have appealed the decision though and are hopeful of a positive outcome.