Deportivo Alaves travel to Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium on Sunday and in the build up to the clash, visiting head coach Abelardo Fernandez praised his opposing number, naming Quique Sanchez Flores one of the best Spain has to offer.
The Catalan club have had a jaded season, unable to build on the triumph of their eighth place finish last season, they find themselves dislodged in mid-table with nothing to play for.
Despite the stagnation, Abelardo feels the Espanyol faithful should be grateful to have the Spaniard in charge.
“He is one of the best coaches in Spain,” claimed the ex-Barcelona player.
Happy at home for Abelardo
He also drew similarities from Espanyol to his team, given that both sides “have taken almost all their points at home.”
The hosts this weekend added 25 of their 35 points at home, while Alavés scored 22 of 31 at the Mendizorroza and with only four points separating them, Sunday’s tie is expected to be closely-fought.
La Liga survival on the cards
Abelardo is happy with the response of his squad following the international break and feels they are ready to produce the consolidation needed to ensure La Liga football next term.
They are ten points adrift of relegation with nine games remaining and he says his team are in good spirits.
“Rest and training have been good for us,” he added in his pre-match conference.
“We have one month and three weeks of competition, which is nothing. We are well on track, but we have to sign it.”
Alaves are yet to beat Espanyol in their last six meetings with their last victory coming in the 1-0 win during November 2017.
Abelardo is expected to have trio Munir, Sobrino and John Guidetti available while Carlos Vigaray and Ibai Gomez remain doubtful.