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  • "I'm told the Espanyol fans loved the guy and annoyed and saddened as I was about Nigel's departure, we should give the new man a fair chance and not make the mistake the Chelsea lot have (ie shooting themselves in the foot).

    Any protests tonight won't bring Nigel back or serve any positive purpose that I can think of. It was always going to be tough against Everton and it'll just be tougher still if we create the negative atmosphere that Moyes will certainly be hoping for.

    When all is said and done, the move to Southampton transformed Nigel's career and I have no doubt he will look back on it as the springboard that made his name and his career. He will do just fine.

    It's tempting to boo Nicola if for no other reason than it makes us feel better. But he was instrumental in saving the club - and indeed criticised by many for sacking Pardew and bringing in a virtual unknown from lowly Scunthorpe.

    His communication skills are very poor, but so far he's delivered.

    Directors and players will come and go, but the fans will remain through thick and thin - and we are the ones who will lose the most if we create a losing atmosphere tonight.

    There are negative moaners in the stands even in the good times and they may be out to enjoy a good moan tonight. We shouldn't boost their ranks.

    Three points tonight and the healing will start. We have to look forward and not back."
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Pep's backing for new Saints boss Pochettino

Daily Echo: Mauricio Pochettino Mauricio Pochettino

by Joseph Sexton

Mauricio Pochettino’s remarkable work with the Espanyol youth academy helped win him a dream job with Saints – and the backing of ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola!

The 40-year-old Argentinian was sacked by the La Liga club towards the end of last November with Espanyol bottom of the table.

In his last 20 league games with the club, stretching back to the end of last season, the new Saints boss won just three and lost 13.

During his 145 games in the Spanish top flight with Barcelona-based Espanyol, Pochettino’s win ratio was 34 per cent with 44 per cent of games lost.

But it was his work with Espanyol’s academy that mainly attracted him to Saints chairman Nicola Cortese.

Pochettino is held in high regard in Spain, and Bayern Munich boss in waiting Guardiola has said: “I admire him for his ideals, his character. The foundations of his principles are always the same.”

Saints’ academy has produced gems in recent years such as Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Alex Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and now Luke Shaw.

But Espanyol’s record is even more impressive, and Pochettino takes a lot of credit for that.

They have produced a remarkable 15 Spanish internationals across all age levels since the turn of the Millennium.

Around forty players currently appearing in Spain’s top two divisions have come from Espanyol.

Cortese has said he wants to build a Barcelona-type model at Saints. Seven of the Barca side that started the 2009 Champions League final were home-grown, and Cortese believes he can oversee such a system at St Mary’s.

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