Head coach José Alberto greets Malaga's sporting director, Manolo Gaspar. / MARIANO POZO

Malaga back José Alberto and centre their focus on the transfer market

The Blue and Whites are working on lifting Fifa's ban, as the club prepares for a busy January window

BORJA GUTIÉRREZ

Malaga head coach, José Alberto, will continue at the helm of the team going into the second half of the season. The Asturian, who was on the receiving end of chants calling for his resignation against Leganés (18 December), has received the backing of the club, sources said.

Malaga played their last game of the year over the weekend, and won't be back at training until 27 December. Their next game will be on 3 January.

The confidence the club has in the head coach remains unchanged and it believes that the team's recent dip in form is a direct result of the numerous injuries that key players - like Jozabed or Juande - have picked up over the last month.

As well as the aforementioned players, the Blue and Whites have also been without Ramón, Kevin and now Hicham throuh injury; while winger Paulino has been out with pneumonia.

Fighting at the top

The club still has high hopes of reinforcing the squad when the January transfer window opens. Sources have also said that Malaga are going to be ambitious with their signings, given that the team's objective is to finish in the upper half of the table.

However, that objective could slip away if the their recent form continues into the new year. The situation is not yet critical and the Blue and Whites' performance so far is seen as positive, albeit with some reservations.

"It's clear that we need reinforcements," said José Alberto, just minutes after Malaga's most recent defeat. It's a message that clearly precedes a month of January full of changes, although that depends entirely on whether there are enough available players on the market.

Another thorn in Malaga's side is the looming Fifa ban, which would see them unable to sign players until the summer of 2023, and is currently being worked on by the club.

If Malaga cannot overturn this ban within the next few days- which the club disagrees with, as they blame a lack of communication on Fifa's part as the reason they were unaware of an outstanding payment- then they will fork out the 800,000 euros needed to compensate ex-goalkeepr Cenk Gonen.

Regardless, sporting director Manolo Gaspar and his team have not stopped working on the upcoming transfer window. Gaspar has reminded everyone that the club still considers this season to be transitional, due to the young age of the squad and the multiple changes it suffered over the summer, but at the same time he considers the club to be in a stronger position, economically speaking.