Malaga have nervous moments as Primera Liga winds down

Europa League spot is in reach but they may not be allowed to take it, writes Andy Mitten.

Among the worries Malaga fans is who will replace Manuel Pellegrini as coach should he leave for Manchester City.
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"I'm not leaving Malaga for money or a big contract," said Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini on Wednesday, just before he was awarded the golden shield of the province of Malaga, "but for what you look for in this job, a project."

That project is likely to be at Etihad Stadium in Manchester as the Chilean is favourite to replace Roberto Mancini at Manchester City.

Spanish clubs have lost three of their best coaches in as many days, with the announcements that Jose Mourinho will leave Real Madrid and Philippe Montanier, who has excelled at Real Sociedad this season, will join French club Rennes.

Pellegrini, who will also have a street named after him in Malaga, departs from a nervous, uncertain club who also fear the almost certain departure of their best player, Isco.

Malaga have enjoyed an excellent season and were seconds away from reaching the Champions League semi-final, but there's a danger of the club unravelling and Pellegrini questioned the future of the club.

They have slipped to sixth in the table, sufficient to qualify for a European place next season - not that they will be allowed to take it.

They are appealing against their Uefa imposed one-year ban for delays in payments to creditors including their own players.

They did get some good news when Uefa announced that a second "suspended" ban, to be implemented if they failed to get their finances in order by March 2013, had been overturned.

Uefa's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB): said that Malaga had: "fulfilled the conditions" imposed and that the second "conditional" year of their punishment would not now apply.

Qatari-owned Malaga are still appealing to Uefa's Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the hope that their one-year ban will be lifted so that they can play in Europe next season.

Eight points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad, they would not be returning to the Champions League but the Europa League.

That is if they can beat off Betis and finish in sixth.

Uefa have acted firmly against clubs who flout the financial rules as they move towards making clubs balance their books or face exclusion from European competition.

Malaga appear to have learnt their lesson, though their fans remain nervous about the months ahead.