Malaga head coach Manuel Pellegrini was in a celebratory mood after his team beat Real Madrid 3-2 on Saturday night.
An opening effort from the much-vaunted Isco was bolstered by two goals from on-loan striker Roque Santa Cruz, and, though problems off the pitch financially with Uefa have threatened to derail their season, Pellegrini was thrilled with how 2012 has gone for the club.
“It is a joy to finish the year because it has been a brilliant year for us in Champions League, finishing the group stage unbeaten,” the former Santiago Bernabeu boss told reporters.
Champions League success and beating Real Madrid, it is a joy to know we have given satisfaction to the fans.”“I hope that the problems off the football field are resolved and we can finish the fight in this year’s Champions League and qualify for European competition at the end of the season.”
The Chilean coach admitted his early-game unease was relieved by his side’s triumphant second-half, which propelled them to just two points (and one position) behind Jose Mourinho’s men in La Liga heading into the winter break.
“They had a couple of clear, early chances and that was no way to start the game, but then we had a great second half. We made a difference in the game and on the scoreboard,” Pellegrini concluded.