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By ESPN Staff

Espanyol replace coach Mane with Pochettino

New Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino insists he is delighted to return to the club but has begged the team's fans not to see him as a "Messiah".

Pochettino replaces Jose Manuel Esnal 'Mane', who was sacked on Tuesday morning.

The former Espanyol defender, who had two separate spells as a player at the club, will have to work quickly to turn things around with the Catalan club in 18th spot in the standings, five points adrift of 17th-placed Numancia and safety.

"I am very happy to return to what has always been my home," said Pochettino as he was presented this afternoon. "I know the situation, I know the feeling of the people and all of us who love this institution.

"I have always said that whenever the team needs me I will answer their call. I responded in 2004 and today I am convinced that I can do my bit. But I am just another fan, who is suffering because of the results of the team.

"I am at the service of the club and I will continue to be so, but I am in no way a Messiah."

Pochettino becomes Espanyol's third coach of the season, following on from Mane and Bartolome Marquez, who was sacked in December.

The 36-year-old has little experience, having only coached Espanyol's female team but insists he is capable of steering them to safety.

"The first thing I have to do is talk to the players, analyse the situation well and talk about what I have seen in the last few games," he continued. "We have to transmit pride and confidence and show everyone that we are working with hope and desire.

"Everyone who knows me knows that I am a very demanding person and that is what I am going to be like now.

"From the first to the last, they are going to demand involvement, comradeship and unity from themselves."

Pochettino will face a baptism of fire in his debut match as tomorrow night Espanyol face runaway Primera Liga leaders Barcelona in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final.

However, he insists his new team are more than capable of beating their cross-town rivals.

"Tomorrow is a fundamental game for us and we have to show that something has changed," said Pochettino.

"In that regard we have to go out with hope, confidence and desire so that the public can feel proud.

"Like all fans, I want to win tomorrow against Barca. And I am convinced that we can do it. We have to start now to work against the clock."

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