Pellegrini later said, "To win the group with 16 points from 18 is a very good performance because we played against difficult teams like Roma and Ludogorets who fought to the end to qualify.
"It's a game that wasn't easy to be concentrated in and to play well because we knew before the game we were already first in the group. We played a very good game with intensity.
"I'm happy not to play against the teams that come from the Champions League as they're always difficult games. We did it last season when we beat Zenit. But this year it's better not to play that [play-off] stage of the Europa League because we have too many games in the next half [of the season].
"Aitor is a forward. He always played that position [though] he is a player who knows how to play another position especially defending. It is important for him to have times as a striker because it is the position where he's always played."