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Pepe Mel: "Pedri is still very young and we mustn’t push him too hard"

UD Las Palmas Pepe Mel, who is 57 tomorrow, said today that he is still to decide whether to play Pedri from the start in tomorrow’s league clash against Málaga. The young Canarian footballer featured in a friendly for the Spanish Under 19s this week and

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"Pedri came back last night. We have spoken to the Under 19 officials and we have been told what he has been doing there. We will wait until tomorrow before making any decisions, as we have been working on strategies at training, so we won’t rush things. Pedri completed half the training session today, we’ve got different alternatives",  he announced. 

Both De la Bella and Galarreta are ruled out through injury. Mantovani will also miss out tomorrow due to suspension. "There are no let-ups in problems for this team, and every week something new comes up. Fede Varela has recovered from his discomfort, and in he is much more comfortable in the link-up role. We are just three points of the playoff positions despite not winning. This proves just how tough this league is. We need to take each fixture as it comes, we can’t do anymore than that", the trainer admitted.

With reference to Málaga CF’s good recent run, in which they have won their last three games, he said: "We all go through the ups and downs in the second division. We have been there. Now we are drawing a lot of our matches, and not winning. But winning is so important. Everything is going well for Málaga at the moment. They are missing Adrián; but they have lots of good things about their team. They are dangerous up front and in wide positions. They have lots of players with experience of first division football”.

Regarding VAR, Mel stated: "The president was right on an institutional level, Las Palmas cannot complain about the referees as an institution. It is different when a manager says how his dressing room and fans are feeling right after a match. They haven’t awarded us penalties for hand-ball situations that they have awarded against us. We don’t want benefits, just a fair decision. Against Málaga refereeing decisions are out of our hands. To go on about VAR won’t benefit or hurt us, it is just a distraction at the end of the day".